Frequently Asked Questions

1  What is the writing-to-learn pedagogy?

 

2  What is WriteToLearnNY? 

 

3  What are the benefits of writing-to-learn?

 

4  Who should participate in a WriteToLearnNY program?

 

5  What programs does WriteToLearnNY offer?

 

6  What will educators learn in a WriteToLearnNY program?

 

7  What kinds of writing assignments will teachers learn about?

 

8  What results can educators expect to see when they implement writing-       to-learn pedagogy?   

 

9  How does someone enroll in a WriteToLearnNY program? 

 

10  When and where are WriteToLearnNY programs held?

 

11  What will the WriteToLearnNY program require of teachers?

 

12  How much time does the program require?  How many CTLE Hours             will teachers earn?

 

13  How can educators help students with their writing if they do not                  teach English?

14  What if writing assignments are not suitable for a discipline? 

15  Teachers have a lot of material to cover in class.  Won’t writing-to-                 learn take time away from teaching content? 

 

16  Teachers already have more work than they can handle.  Won’t adding        writing to their classes bury them in paper grading? 

1  What is the writing-to-learn pedagogy?

Writing-to-Learn (WTL) is a pedagogy with a central guiding concept: when one writes, one learns.  Utilizing a variety of techniques to introduce writing assignments into all curricula, WTL fosters critical thinking skills of students while offering educators immediate and significant feedback about student learning.  By consistently assigning writing in varied forms both in and out of class, teachers help students to become active learners who gain a better grasp of course content, become more engaged in class, and improve their writing skills. 

2  What is WriteToLearnNY? 

WriteToLearnNY is an interactive professional development program for high school educators of all disciplines that introduces teachers to writing-to-learn concepts and offers opportunities for hands-on application of primary skills.  Through a variety of strategies for introducing diverse writing assignments, WriteToLearnNY fosters student engagement and grasp of course content while providing educators with essential feedback about their students’ learning.  WriteToLearnNY is a New York State Education Department approved CTLE sponsor. 

For detailed information about the program, click here, and its director, here.

3  What are the benefits of writing-to-learn?

There are several benefits for teachers and students when writing-to-learn concepts and techniques are incorporated into a curriculum.  Foremost among these are the increased learning of course content, added engagement with it, and improved writing skills. 

In addition, effectively designed and varied writing assignments

 

  • provide opportunities for educators to offer early feedback to students, which leads to improved performance 

 

  • motivate students to be prepared for class

 

  • prompt students to think more deeply about what they are learning and to remember what they write about

 

  • encourage students to develop ideas and to explore connections among them

 

  • offer opportunities for students to build competence in the modes of inquiry and dissemination specific to a discipline

For more information, click here for “Benefits for Educators” and here for “Benefits for Students.”   

4  Who should participate in a WriteToLearnNY program?

Teachers who seek to increase learning and engagement in their classes should enroll in a WriteToLearnNY program. At the request of superintendents, principals, BOCES, or teacher centers, programs are offered to high-school classroom teachers, Level III teaching assistants, heads of departments, and school leaders from all disciplines. 

5  What programs does WriteToLearnNY offer?

To meet the needs of high school faculty, programs are available in varied formats: 

  • Online Series, 45 CTLE Hours

  • Hybrid Workshop Series, 45 CTLE Hours

  • Two-Day Seminar, 10 CTLE Hours

  • Professional Development Day, 6 CTLE Hours

WriteToLearnNY is a NYSED CTLE sponsor, and while each professional development program possesses unique qualities, all include stimulating, multi-dimensional activities designed to reinforce, enhance, and extend the teaching practices of participating faculty.  All programs feature whole group discussions, writing exercises, mini-lectures, and small group work.   

For general information about individual WriteToLearnNY programs, click here.

6  What will educators learn in a WriteToLearnNY program?

After completing a WriteToLearnNY program, participants will be able to:

  • identify and address purposes for creating writing assignments

 

  • create, evaluate, and revise writing assignments to motivate students, help them to become active learners, and increase their mastery of course content

 

  • align their writing assignments with the New York State Next Generation Learning Standards

 

  • design effective formal and informal assessment tools that offer instant feedback about what students have learned and what needs to be reinforced

 

  • provide students with additional opportunities for self-expression and the improvement of writing skills, outcomes especially critical for English Language Learners (ELLs) and Multilingual Learners (MLLs)

 

  • respond to student writing in ways that will not overwhelm them with paperwork

Click here for additional outcomes for educators.

7  What kinds of writing assignments will teachers learn about?

The writing assignments program participants learn to design address their individual needs, preferences, and disciplines.  Core writing-to-learn strategies include formal and informal writing that may be assigned both in and out of class, that incorporate the use of scaffolding, and that emphasize revision.   

Assignments utilize varied forms such as argument, narrative, informative, and explanatory texts.  Additional focus is upon exploratory writing that encourages students to make personal connections to course content and to reflect on their own learning. 

8  What results can educators expect to see when they implement writing-to-learn pedagogy?   

When participants complete a WriteToLearnNY program, they will be able to utilize writing-to-learn concepts and techniques to create vibrant writing assignments that challenge their students and stimulate interest in the subject matter being taught.  Like any other pedagogy, however, writing-to-learn requires faculty commitment and persistence to extend training experiences into regular pedagogical practice.  While exact results may vary from teacher to teacher and from class to class, below are common impacts writing-to-learn will have on students. 

  • student engagement is enhanced through the use of writing assignments

  • student grasp of content is improved as indicated by assessment measures already applied (including, but not limited to, quizzes, exams, class participation, and homework assignments) as well as newly implemented writing-to-learn assignments

  • student productivity is increased as evidenced by the extent to which students complete writing assignments, particularly those assigned as homework

  • student writing demonstrates improved quality

To learn about additional benefits, click here for educators and here for students.

9  How does someone enroll in a WriteToLearnNY program? 

Individual teachers or groups should contact WTLNY directly by submitting a “Contact” form or via email or telephone.

Requests for an onsite WTLNY program must be made by a representative of  a school, school district, teacher center, or BOCES.  Note that it is preferable for a group from the same school and from several subject areas to participate in the program to foster an exchange of ideas between and among educators. 

10  When and where are WriteToLearnNY programs held?

WriteToLearnNY programs are offered upon request.  With the exception of the Online Series, which is presented exclusively online, programs are available both online and on-site.  If on-site, the program will be housed in a space provided by the school, teacher center, or BOCES. 

WriteToLearnNY programs are available in the fall, spring, and summer.  The Online Series and the Hybrid Workshop Series are conducted over 2-3 months and are scheduled in advance of each season. 

For up-to-date information, please submit an inquiry via the “Contact” page

11  What will the WriteToLearnNY program require of teachers?

WriteToLearnNY programs embrace activities that are multi-dimensional and meant to enhance, reinforce, and extend the teaching practices of participating faculty. 

Depending upon the program educators enroll in, they will engage in several of the following activities:

  • attend content-based presentations

  • participate in both large and small-group discussions

  • read and respond to texts

  • prepare and share your drafts of writing assignments intended for students

  • generate grading rubrics for prospective writing assignments

 

For both the Online Series and the Hybrid Workshop Series, participants will post to discussion boards their responses to readings, drafts of prospective writing assignments they have created, and feedback on other group members’ work.  They will also complete two program projects: a writing-to-learn plan and a reflections note.

For WriteToLearnNY program descriptions, click here.

12  How much time does the program require?  How many CTLE hours will teachers earn?

WriteToLearnNY is a New York State Education Department licensed CTLE sponsor, and each program has specific requirements.  Time commitment is represented by the number of CTLE Hours earned upon completion of the individual program. 

  • Online Series, 45 hours

  • Hybrid Workshop Series, 45 hours

  • Two-Day Seminar, 10 hours

  • Professional Development Day, 6 hours

For additional information about each WriteToLearnNY program, click here

13  How can educators help students with their writing if they do not teach English?

Writing-to-learn is a cross-disciplinary pedagogy.  Its primary goals are for students to become more engaged with course content and better learners of it.  Achieving grammatical correctness is not the main tenet of writing-to-learn.  If a teacher is able to determine from a response to a writing assignment how well a student has mastered course content, that will provide the essential information about how that learner has integrated what has been taught.  However, it should be noted that as students continue to complete writing assignments, teachers can expect to see an improvement in the clarity of responses.

14  What if writing assignments are not suitable for a discipline? 

Writing-to-learn emphasizes the learning of course content, and may be applied to all disciplines!  WriteToLearnNY programs help educators design effective writing assignments that address course learning objectives and that increase student learning.  Whatever subject is being taught, teachers who incorporate effective writing assignments into their classes will prompt students to spend more time on task and to think more deeply about the topic they are asked to write about.  Moreover, the process of writing down their ideas helps students to understand more clearly what they know about a topic and what they need to learn.  Such self-reflection is critical to advancing the learning of any discipline. 

For additional information about how WriteToLearnNY programs benefit all educators, click here

15  Teachers have a lot of material to cover in class.  Won’t writing-to-learn take time away from teaching content? 

The possible conflict between the requirement to cover content and actual student learning is an important and perennial concern.  WriteToLearnNY programs offer opportunities for teachers to reap the benefits of deep learning actualized by incorporating effective writing assignments into a syllabus without impinging upon class time.  Strategies are offered for capitalizing on writing in class so that a maximum benefit may be derived from a minimal commitment of instructional time.

 

16  Teachers already have more work than they can handle.  Won’t adding more writing to their classes bury them in paper grading? 

WriteToLearnNY programs present several techniques that educators can apply to assess and respond to student writing.  One method that is stressed is learning to create and apply rubrics that effectively measure student performance in terms of the aims and objectives of the writing assignment.  In these cases, a quick read-and-response will provide students with important and sufficient feedback.  With other techniques, teachers do not have to read a single paper!  With extended writing assignments, such as research papers or term projects, the careful scaffolding of assignments will greatly reduce the time spent responding and grading. 

© 2018 by WriteToLearnNY                                   (516) 218-6727                                   WriteToLearnNY@gmail.com                               Updated October15, 2020