The Teacher, the Author, and the Text: Variations in form and Content of Writing Conferences

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This study investigated the changing practices of two teachers in conducting writing conferences with elementary students. Drawing from observational data of conferences and interview data with the teachers, the paper presents the cases of Erica, a fifth-grade teacher, and Emily, a first-grade teacher, as they incorporated the Teachers College Writing Project philosophy in their teaching. Erica's conferences at the beginning of the school year reflected her technical orientation toward writing as she focused on mechanics. At the end of the year, Erica's conferences with students focused much more on ideas, reflecting her changing orientation towards students taking more control of their writing. Like Erica's conferences, the content of Emily's conferences shifted from an emphasis upon logistics and mechanics to focusing on students' ideas. In contrast to Erica, however, Emily provided complete support to students initially and moved towards providing more intervention in the writing of students at the end of the year. The study provides contrasting examples of two teachers learning to alter classroom norms and responding to students in authentic ways. It also suggests the possibilities of teachers changing their roles within the writing conference.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-82
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Literacy Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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