Coaching Writing: The Power of Guided Practice / Edition 1

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"Good coaching," William Strong explains, "enables writers, whatever their skill level, to pay attention to language and trust their meaning-making instincts. Coaching is the central activity in the 'game' of teaching (a pursuit with lifelong challenges), and it's an activity that can have a lifetime effect on language learners."

This book presents a "coaching approach" to instruction in written language - an approach that is eclectic, pragmatic, synthetic. It centers on finding balance - ways of working smarter, not harder - and thus reducing the risk of burnout in teaching. Balance implies wellness, strength, and flexibility. In pursuing balance, Strong invites teachers to consider - or revisit - practical activities, tasks, and methods for exercising language and coaching writing.

The chapters are intended as resources - not as curriculum sequences. In the first chapter, Strong discusses his work with basic writers and tells how he came to field test and use sentence-combining exercises. In Chapter 2, he provides a research-based rationale for given-language activities and illustrates many activities for connecting such work to instruction in writing and literature. And in Chapter 3, he explores the tricky issue of error in written language, outlines ideas for securing student involvement, and offers useful methods for teaching proofreading. Other chapters cover everything from paragraphing and "voice lessons" to strategies for peer-response groups, rubrics, self-assessment, and successfully managing the paper load.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Strong is a good teacher, gifted at emphasizing to readers and students that what they are learning and why is as important as how to do it.”–--VOYA
This handbook offers exercises, examples, theory, and follow-up questions on how to guide students to be better writers through focused practice, much like an athlete practices a sport. Technical, with regular references to previous research, this resource is not a text for the casual writer or writing group advisor but an appropriate book for English teachers or prospective teachers. Strong advises writing teachers to use student writing as examples in exercises, and to get students to work, write, and edit in peer groups. He recommends that teachers place a checkmark next to a line with a mistake in it, leaving it up to the student to locate the error, thus creating an opportunity for discussion and a teachable moment. A few exercises might be of use to library writing groups, but many are focused more on structure of language, punctuation, and grammar. The emphasis here is that all writing exercises must have meaning and not just be stand-alone busywork. The book is filled with former student writing samples and testimonials to Strong, making it seem that his technique is only part of his success; ultimately, he is also a good teacher, gifted at emphasizing to readers and students that what they are learning and why is as important as how to do it. Although not a necessary purchase, school libraries might want this book for their staff shelves; college libraries with teachers in training could find it more useful. Index. Charts. Biblio. 2001, Heinemann, 210p,
— Beth Karpas
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780867095074
  • Publisher: Heinemann
  • Publication date: 9/7/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Meet the Author

William Strong directs the Utah Writing Project at Utah State University, where he teaches courses in writing, English education, and content-area literacy. Besides authoring many articles and teaching resources on sentence combining and writing, he is the consulting author in composition for Writer's Choice (Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 2001) and series consultant for English Matters! (Grolier, 2000).
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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Game of Teaching

Coaching Basics

Coaching Syntax

Coaching Usage

Coaching Style

Coaching Paragraphs

Coaching Voice

Coaching Imagination

Coaching Collaboration

Coaching Genre

Coaching Assessment

Conclusion: The Zen of Coaching

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