Authors: Nanci Werner-Burke, Jane Spohn, Jessica Spencer, Bobbi Button, and Missie Morral
Summary: This article describes how middle school teachers looked closely at their own practice with the goal of increasing student engagement. As they explored digital tools and multimodal texts and publishing, they came to recognize the need to interweave attention to the social aspects of students’ learning with their own teaching. In the process, four key ideas rose to the forefront: the use of writing as a tool for engagement and learning, the importance of preparing students to compete in an increasingly digitized world, and the motivational appeal of the graphic novel genre. The results of their inquiry may serve as an example of how teachers can examine their own writing and classroom practices to develop new strategies to engage their students.
Original Date of Publication: June 20, 2012
“Do we have to read this? Why do I have to do this? Every teacher has gotten this reaction from middle level students at some time. While we know that student motivation and engagement are essential components of learning, pulling in students who radiate apathy or resistance toward school work is an ongoing challenge. How can we reach those young adolescents who seem to only care about what happens outside of school walls?
As we began our collaborative investigation of how to best address this problem within our own teaching context, four factors immediately rose to the forefront: the use of writing as a tool for engagement and learning, the necessity to prepare our students to compete in an increasingly digitized world, the motivational appeal of the graphic novel genre, and the need to interweave the social aspects of learning with teaching.”
Original Source: National Writing Project, http://www.nwp.org/cs/public/print/resource/3855