Heather Wolpert-Gawron

Edutopia Post: Common Core Standards and Persuasive Writing

By on November 3, 2011

My new post at Edutopia, “Persuasive Writing is a Key Focus in Common Core Standards,” has just gone live. I’m in high hopes for this new wave of assessments because I see more authenticity and real world application.  For one thing, Persuasive writing (Argumentation) will have a place across the curriculum in the assessments of both Math and ELA.  After all, as I say in the post:

Life is persuasive. A lawyer persuades a jury. A job applicant pitches oneself as a potential employee. A scientist competes for a grant. A writer sells her idea in her query letter. Persuasive writing is a key that unlocks a world of possibilities. It is a skill that we see at every stage of life from writing the inevitable cover letter to one day hopefully writing a letter of recommendation.

School must reflect the world around it, and writing persuasively is a key skill for college and career readiness regardless of the path a student takes.

My question to all my readers is Should all teachers be held accountable for the quality of a student’s writing?  Is it the burden of ELA teachers alone or do other content area teachers have a role to play in this new CCS world of Persuasive writing?

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  1. lfrissen
    November 5, 2011

    All teachers can help with these goals as every subject should have writing assignments part of their own curriculum. As you stated, having to persuade someone is a skill students will use in many areas of their lives. If we did a better job of collaborating so students could see how the subjects we teach are all interrelated then we would naturally support each others’ goals.

  2. Mr. Fachler
    November 18, 2011

    At the risk of sounding bullish or insensitive to teachers of other disciplines, I think teaching writing is a non-negotiable. When teachers teach writing, they teach thinking. I cannot conceive of teaching in the absence of writing, even if it is something as simple as a journal to reflect on one’s process and progress. As Doug Reeves says, “Anything worth thinking about is worth writing about” and many have commented that argumentative literacy is the “spine of education” (E.D. Hirsch).

    The challenge here is twofold: 1) we must find authentic contexts for our students to pursue and refine their argumentative skills because it’s not easy, and it does not come without consistent practice; 2) we must help our students overcome their natural tendency to jump to hasty conclusions (claims) without consider alternative viewpoints or, indeed, the evidence.

    Oh, yes, and 3) we must convince our colleagues (by logical argument or coercion) that teaching students how to think through writing is everyone’s job.

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