Where is the writing teacher? Preservice teachers’ perspectives on the teaching of writing

Angela M. Kohnen, University of Florida
Kathryn Caprino, Elizabethtown College
Sally Crane, University of Florida
Jane S. Townsend, University of Florida


This article identifies how a cohort of preservice teachers educated during the No Child Left Behind Era thought about the teaching of writing when they entered a secondary English Language Arts (ELA) teacher preparation program. Most participants shared the beliefs that: (1) writing was primarily the demonstration of specific skills, often on a standardized test; (2) alternatives to the five-paragraph essay would be extra, with formulaic writing central to instruction; (3) teachers had little role in student writing development beyond assigning writing; (4) feedback on writing should be ‘objective’ and tied to a grade; and (5) the purpose of ELA is primarily to teach literature. Authors believe identifying preservice teachers’ beliefs about writing and the role of the writing teacher at the beginning of a program can help teacher educators design experiences to expand students’ notions of literacy and of writing instruction.