Writing for a Change

As you all may know, the campus has an effort, led by Libbie Morley, to establish a National Writing Project site here. There will be an opening reception at Levis Faculty Center on April 3.

Among the materials we’re reviewing prior to submitting a proposal for the site is a new book, Writing for a Change: Boosting Literacy and Learning Through Social Action, edited by Kristina Berdan et al. (Jossey-Bass, 2006). It reflects a collaboration between the National Writing Project and the Centre for Social Action at De Montfort University in Leicester, England. I was struck in reading it how close the goals of an NWP site could be to what we’re doing with Community Informatics.

Below is an abstract, although it doesn’t do justice to the social action dimension as shown in the book:

Writing for a Change shows teachers how to engage students in “real world” problem-solving activities that can help them to acquire voice, authority, and passion for both reading and writing practice. Written in collaboration with the Center for Social Action in England, the book describes the innovative Social Action process for encouraging students to collaborate on problems of their own choosing—to analyze options, develop action plans, discover solutions, and finally to reflect on their work. Featuring stories by teachers who have successfully used the method, the book shows that first graders as well as high-school students can enjoy this exciting and educational process. Practical guidance for applying the process to any curricular area is provided along with an extensive list of classroom activities.

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