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Department Programs

Education Department Writing Program

PROPOSAL:
The Program Development Committee proposes that an integrated writing enriched program be adopted by the Education Department.

BACKGROUND:
One of the goals of the Education Program is to prepare prospective teachers to communicate effectively orally, with appropriate body language, and in writing. Teachers are required to write using a variety of styles including letters to parents, lesson and unit plans, various types of reports, various styles of documentation, grant applications, articles for publication and the like. Clarity, conciseness, accuracy, and effective organization of data and information are essential. These are the elements of writing which prospective employers insist are fundamental.

Teachers are also expected to reflect on their own teaching practices. Professional teachers use journals, observation data, and written self-analyses to guide their own development. Such written information is often revised. Original and revised writings are documents included in a portfolio.

Teachers must also be capable models and teachers of appropriate writing in its various styles. Teachers must be knowledgeable of the writing process as learned from their own experiences in writing, critique, and revisions of writing.

The Education Program has a strong history of writing requirements. The presence of writing requirements is evident in the course syllabi for courses offered within the Department. In the process of reviewing each course for NCATE evaluation, the Education Department has and continues to show evidence of a strong emphasis on writing. Where there are identified areas of need for a connection between the course goals and the writing process, new goals are being developed. For example, in the Education Psychology and Introduction to Teaching courses reflection papers will be used following teaching episodes. The following areas are also being emphasized:

  1. Focus on a clear connection between objectives and writing assignments.
  2. Specific writing assignments are given with the audience and purpose of the writing clearly stated.
  3. Writing assignments are sequenced throughout courses and throughout the program.
  4. Attention is being given to provide specific rubrics for evaluation.
  5. Students are encouraged to be creative in their writing as well as in the manner in which they use the accepted guidelines for expressing themselves in the genre.

THE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT WRITING ENRICHED PROGRAM
Current courses in the Education Program offer frequent and balanced writing experiences. In the introductory courses students are requested to write concise reviews and critiques of journal articles including personal responses. They write reflective journals which ask them to think about prior reading and apply it to a current situation or experience. Writings must reflect integration of writing and experience. Another writing experience includes the design and analysis of an interdisciplinary teaching unit. This group project is written and submitted for review and revision. In addition, students in the Education Department must write lesson plans, write a management plan, and prepare a written analysis of a textbook. They must also prepare a portfolio which contains written reflections exhibiting the integration of course theory, process, and skill. In these introductory courses the writing assignments account for at least 50% of the grade.

In subsequent courses, students are asked to write, revise, and rewrite a major paper, design a family interview, and conduct a brief study in which results are written. Students are also asked to write and revise a term paper, and write a position paper. In addition, students are asked to write letters to parents and to write reports describing assessment results. In yet another setting they are involved in "compare and contrast" writing such as comparing current curriculum used in a school to guidelines from the State of Michigan. Students may also be asked to compare two software program for content accuracy.

Feedback is given for all writing assignments. Instructors comment on presentation or style as well as accuracy of content. Particular attention is given to encouraging students to include newly acquired professional terminology. In some instances concise, thoughtful integration of a Reformed Christian perspective is required. Some critique is given so that students revise the current product. Critique is also used to affect the more precise development of later assignments. Attention is given to making analysis and critique statements that provide students with a model for desired work and for using as a critique style with their own students.

To further illustrate the type and extent of writing required in the Education Department, a chart reflecting the writing requirements in each course is attached.

The Education Department faculty is committed to nurturing students in acquiring writing competency. To do this the faculty confers with students regarding their writing using written and oral feedback and thus providing the opportunity to review and revise written work. Course syllabi and related assignments reflect this commitment. Department members also provide examples of commitment to writing through their own writing and scholarship.

FINAL CONSIDERATIONS:
The Education Department has in place a functioning, effective writing-enriched program and has a faculty that is committed to excellence in writing. To continue that commitment the Education Department will work with the Writing Program Director to assess the program during the 2000 - 2001 academic year.

It requests the committee to approve the Department for a Departmental Writing Program.

Department Writing Program Proposal
Course No. and Name
Type/Style of Writing
Feedback
Frequency
Educ 191 - 192 Reflective journal

written comments -
professor

1 (5 entries)
Educ 216 - Educating Exceptional Children Article reviews written comments - professor 1
Synthesis paper written comments - professor 1
Movie review written comments - professor optional
Book review written comments - professor optional
Family interview written comments - professor optional
Canadian options written comments - professor optional
Attitude poll written comments - professor optional
Children's literature written comments - professor optional
Barriers game written comments - professor optional
Educ 301 - Psychology of Education & Educ 303 - Introduction to Teaching (Secondary) Journal article critique written comments - professor 1
3-4 page essay written - professor and peers 1
Classroom management plan written - professor and peers 1
Textbook comparison written - professor 1
Mini-unit & lesson plan written/conference - professor 3
Reflective journal written comments - professor 1 (8 entries)
Portfolios-section descriptive essays written/verbal, professor/peers 5
Educ 301 - Psychology of Education & Educ 303 - Introduction to Teaching (Elementary and Middle) Professional journal summaries and critique written comments - professor 8 articles
Software summary and critique written comments - professor 1
Lesson plan written comments - professor 1
Unit plan written comments - professor 1
Textbook analysis written comments - professor 1
Reflective journal written comments - professor and peers 8
Classroom management plan written comments - professor 1
Portfolios written comments - professor 1
Educ 304 - Philosophy of Education Journal writing completed/not completed 14 entries
Article review comments: content, style - professor 1
Essay on philosophy of education comments: content, style - professor 1
Educ 305 - Teaching Social Studies in the Elementary and Middle School Lesson plan written comments - professor 1
Learning center written feedback, revision - professor 1
Book summary and critique written feedback, revision - professor 1
Educ 307 - Reading in Content Areas: Secondary Double-entry journals comments - 2 times - professor with each chapter
Written report of teacher interview comments - professor 1
Written summary of education book comments - professor 1
Lesson plans comments - professor 6
Strategy paper comments - professor (don't always use)
Educ 309 - Teaching Religion Studies in the Elementary School Lesson plan written critique - professor 2
Perspective paper written critique - professor 1
Educ 310 - Diagnosis and Prescription: Mental Impairments Paper on assessment written comments - professor 1
Teacher interview written comments - professor 1
Paper on assessment results written comments - professor 1
Parent interview written comments - professor 1
Educ 311 - Child Language Development Research paper or discourse analysis paper written comments - professor 1
Article summaries written comments - professor 4
Educ 322 - Introduction to Methods of Teaching Reading: Elementary Position paper written comments - professor 1
Lesson plan written comments - professor 6
Journal summary and critique written comments - professor 4
Memos to teachers concerning tutoring very little 4
Assessment paper written comments - professor 2
Project READ - reflective paper written comments - professor optional
Portfolio written comments - professor 1
Educ 326 - Reading/Language Arts in the Elementary School Portfolio assessment written comments - professor 1
Integrated teaching unit written comments - professor 1
Reflection journal written comments and oral discussion - professor 1
Educ 327 - Reading and Language Arts in Middle School Report (diagnostic) on assessment of 1 or 2 students as often as students want 1 or 2
Integral unit comment - professor 1
Writing journal comments 2 times per semester - professor (not always used)
Educ 330 - Curriculum and Instruction: Mental Impairment Writing journal written comments - professor 1
Physical environment analysis paper written comments - professor 1
Critique of an I E P written comments - professor 1
Teacher interview written comments - professor 1
Written I E P written comments - professor 1
Evaluations of computer software written comments - professor 3
Evaluation of commercially prepared curriculum materials written comments - professor 1
Educ 336 - The Young Child in the Educational Setting Case study written critique and oral conference - professor 3-4
Educ 337 - Curriculum Theory and Development: Early Childhood Critique paper written comments - professor 1
Analysis paper written comments - professor 1
Design and description of a unit and learning center oral and written feedback - professor 2
Educ 339 - Issues in Early Childhood Education Written summaries of class discussions written comments - professor 5-6
Position paper written and oral critique from peers and instructor 2
Administrative portfolio written comments - professor 1
Critique paper written comments - professor 1
Educ 344 - Early Childhood Education Curriculum and Instruction: Field Experience Curriculum critique oral and written - professor 3
Lesson plans oral and written - professor 6
Design and critique for parent education oral and written - professor 3
Home visit - plan and assessment review oral and written - professor 2