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Examining the cognitive task potential of writing in the literature classroom: Case studies of two 12th grade students’ written work
English instruction
High school
Issue Date: 
Paper presented at the 2nd Asia-Pacific Education Research Association Conference, Singapore, 26-28 November 2008
This case study is part of a larger study, the National Study of Writing Instruction. Through the examination of the written work and interview data of two 12th grade High School English students from two different classes in the same school, I seek to paint a picture of the kinds of writing the students do in their English classrooms, and what the writing reveals about what teachers value and what students learn in particular classrooms. The analysis reveals how teachers use writing as a learning tool to shape students’ knowledge of particular ways of thinking and knowing within and about the discipline. Additionally, it shows how they inculcate students into discipline-specific ways of writing in each particular classroom. Teachers in both classes taught students to write in line with their idea of “good” writing within the context of the discipline, school policy, and high stakes testing. I argue that the teachers’ awareness of their own expectations, the potential of a task and student expectations will allow for more deliberate design of written tasks that encourage general and discipline-specific learning.
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