Writing goal for all students

Edison High School, 2008/09

24/Sep/08

There are two parts to the goal, the internal, bureaucratically determined and mandated technical part, which though useful as a means, is a short-sighted end, and the greater intellectual goal, which is critical to students’ reaching their full potential in modern society—and often referred to as critical thinking.

Technical goal: Meet the MCA reading and writing standards. These targets are regardless of the state’s misguided schedule and students’ past success or failure.

The intellectual goal: Writing as solving a problem. By exercising intellectual curiosity, healthy skepticism and reasoned discrimination in what they read, and problem definition, strategic planning and decision-making in the lead up to writing, they can achieve this level of intellectual expression.

Both parts of the goal must be segmented into deliverable, developmental chunks, and each scaffolded. Also in both cases the earliest chunks must be the establishment of a discursive vocabulary – content vocabulary, though this need only be functional, and need not be exhaustive, and reading literary criticism will enhance the vocabulary.

Self-monitoring progress toward these goals is a significant contributor to the intellectual independence the intellectual goal calls for. This can be reached more quickly and fluidly through small group and paired peer monitoring practices.

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