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