Developing A Story of Theory and Practice: Multigenre Writing in English Teacher Education

Published: 
Jul. 28, 2009

Source: The Teacher Educator, Volume 44, Issue 3 July 2009, pages 204 - 216.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The article presents a study exploring preservice teachers' experiences with multigenre writing in a secondary English methods course. The goal of this course was to provide students with grounding in secondary English pedagogical theory and practice. It particularly focused on assisting secondary school students to develop as readers and writers.
In multigenre writing (Romano, 2000), students write about their research in a variety of genres as an alternative to the traditional research paper, presenting exposition in narrative forms.

Participants

Eight preservice teachers participated in this study (seven females and one male). They were assigned to write multigenre reflections that connected theory and practice from course readings. Their writing was supported through classroom workshops and discussion.

Data collection included samples of preservice teachers' writing, transcripts of focus group interviews, and notes taken from class discussions about multigenre writing.
Analysis of these data indicate that the participants in this study worked through their initial anxiety related to the unique expectations of multigenre writing; their written products demonstrate their willingness to push the boundaries of their own and instructor expectations and to craft increasingly sophisticated connections between theory and practice related to teaching English/language arts.

Future Suggestions

For future work, the author offers a few suggestions based on this study:
Writing workshop: Devoting significant amounts of class time to students' writing through writing workshop will assist students in several ways. In a workshop environment, the instructor can help preservice teachers to break down walls between the work of analysis and the work of narrative, provide enough structure to keep them feeling safe, and enough freedom to allow them to put their creativity into motion.

Writing with students: Instructors should write assignments themselves, along with students. The author found that experiencing the difficulties of multigenre writing helped me to better understand the anxieties around the process that my students were working through.

Assessment: In order to allay fears about evaluation, it is important that preservice teachers have a say in how their writing will be assessed. Thus, the instructor can work with the class to develop a rubric or other evaluation tool together.

These classroom procedures will allow preservice teachers to experience success in their own writing; in addition, they model for preservice teachers the importance of providing a supportive environment for students as they write.

Reference
Romano, T. (2000) Blending genre, altering style. Boynton-Cook , Portsmouth, NH.

Updated: Aug. 24, 2009
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