National Writing Project

Preaching What We Practice: A Study of Revision

By: Shelbie Witte
Publication: Journal of Curriculum and Instruction
Date: April 17, 2013

Summary: In this article, a three-tiered nationwide study of the pedagogical implications of teachers' revision practices in digital writing environments is discussed. The study investigates the use of revision in the personal and professional writing of teachers and the teaching of revision in their own classrooms. During a three year period, data were collected from a sampling frame of 150 National Writing Project summer institutes, resulting in 181 study participants, and included a longitudinal pre- and post-survey (including Likert survey items and open-ended questions), focus group and follow-up questions, and an analysis of writing/revision samples.


Excerpt from Article

Teachers of writing must take on several different roles: they must guide students through the writing process, act as audience to students' writing, and evaluate or assign a grade to student work. Teachers are torn between these roles causing feedback that tends to fall on a continuum between evaluative feedback, which tells students how well they met the requirements of the assignment, and formative feedback, which asks the writers to clarify and reshape their pieces to effectively communicate their points (McGarrell & Verbeem, 2007). Teachers need to help students realize that revising is not about just fixing grammatical and surface errors, but also refers to the strength of an argument and overall structure of the piece, including content (Sommers, 1980). How teachers see their role and their relationship to students' writing affects the feedback they give. . . ."

Copyright © 2013 Journal of Curriculum and Instruction. Reprinted with permission.
Witte, Shelbie. 2013. "Preaching What We Practice: A Study of Revision." Journal of Curriculum and Instruction 6 (2): 33-59.

About the Author
Shelbie Witte is an assistant professor in the School of Teacher Education at Florida State University, Tallahassee. Witte is also a teacher-leader of the National Writing Project network.

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