Why Writing Works

Disciplinary Approaches to Composing Texts

Writing in Education

By Dr. Rhonda Bonnstetter

Writing is important

The ability to write with accuracy and clarity of content is essential in teaching. All teacher education candidates are required to pass their writing courses with a minimum grade as part of the requirements for admission to the Teacher Education Program. Additionally, all candidates are required to pass licensure examinations in Essential Academic Skills in the areas of Reading, Writing, and Mathematics.

Teachers communicate continuously, whether verbally, nonverbally, or in writing, with students, parents, peers, staff, administrators, and the broader community. It is an essential part of what they do, and thus must be done at a proficient level if the teacher is to be successful.

Types of writing in Education

Teachers do many types of writing as part of their profession. For example, a teacher may communicate with parents/caregivers through a weekly newsletter, through their webpage, on a classroom blog, and/or by email.  They write lesson plans and units for all classes, and work with their grade band or department in technical writing, such as curriculum mapping to academic standards. Teachers are required to seek continuing education for licensure renewal purposes; many do this by pursuing a Master’s degree, which includes additional coursework and writing research papers. Teachers often present to their peers during inservice workshops or at conferences. Genres included in the scenarios listed would include personal communication, technical writing, research papers, and other forms of professional writing.

The most dominant types of writing would include lesson/unit planning and communication with students, parents, etc., which are all done on a daily basis.

The types that have most impact on the field as a whole would be research writing.

The types that are emerging as the field evolves would include digital writing, such as maintain a teacher webpage or class blog, wiki, etc. Teachers are also now much more involved in communication that includes video, such as including a Skype session with an author of children’s literature or with a teacher/class in another part of the country.

Writing in the classroom

All candidates write their Philosophy of Teaching as part of our Introduction to Education course. They then modify and add to that philosophy as they progress through the Introduction to Special Needs course and their various methods courses. Candidates are also required to write summaries of research into best practices in teaching, and to write detailed lesson and unit plans. Finally, all candidates are required to complete the EdTPA (Teacher Performance Assessment) as part of their student teaching experience. This document contains a written account of a 3 to 5-day unit that the candidate has written, taught, and then assessed the impact of student learning from. Candidates reflect on their experience and detail their next steps in teaching and what changes they intend to make on their personal performance.

This writing is relevant to the field beyond student teaching because all teachers are now part of the statewide teacher evaluation system which also requires that they will write lesson plans, be evaluated by an administrator or other master teacher, and then write a reflection and plans for future professional improvement. The teacher evaluation system is used to make decisions regarding tenure and advancement on a salary schedule.


View a video on writing in the related field of Special Education.  

View a video on writing trends in the related field of Special Education. 


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Reading in Education

Research in Education

Documentation in Education