A case study of teachers' writing for professional purposes

Denise Stavis Levine, Fordham University


This case study analyzed the teacher-identified professional writing of two urban middle school teachers, distinguishing the source of initiation for the writings and examining the differences between the writings in terms of themes and issues raised, and their relationship to the teaching-learning process. The sources of initiation, (1) self, (2) other, and (3) combined, and their effect on the textual characteristics, learning strategies, and content, as represented in each teacher's writing over an eighteen month period, were examined. The findings of the study indicate that these two teachers think holistically about teaching and globally about their curriculum through the use of self-initiated writing. Moreover, writing for the purpose of accountability produces "dummy runs," devoid of evaluating, reflecting, connecting, or speculating. Teachers' self-initiated writing often demonstrated their concerns about time, both the fragmentation of time in schools and the lack of time necessary to cover the skill-oriented curriculum, as well as about the political issues affecting education, teaching, and learning. It was thus recommended that teachers be trained in the habit of reflective writing and be given time during the school day to write, share ideas, and discuss concerns. It was argued that time in which teachers are involved in such collegial enterprises might be far more meaningful than time spent producing lesson plans for accountability. Finally, it was recommended that teachers, themselves, be involved, not just as participants, but in actually conducting follow-up studies and writing up the results to share with all of us connected with schools.

Subject Area

Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Levine, Denise Stavis, "A case study of teachers' writing for professional purposes" (1990). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9109235.