Here’s a statement of the goals of the Virginia is for Learners program:.
While past educational approaches focused on making sure kids know things when they pass from one grade to the next, Virginia is for Learner’s deeper learning focus is about preparing students to do things with that knowledge like think creatively, communicate effectively and become engaged citizens.
Here’s how learning to write and writing to learn are principal skills students require to meet these goals:
Writing is a complex process: a non-linear set of steps, each of which requires a different kind of thinking.
Expressing one’s thinking clearly is a complicated challenge, requiring a breadth of experience with and understanding of language: structures, uses, forms.
Therefore writing and the writing process must be taught and practiced, in order for students to have the confidence and language competence to understand more “…than just strong knowledge of facts and figures.”
There are virtually no classes for pre-service teachers that focus on writing instruction, in any grade level or academic discipline.
Thus, teachers must be taught writing and writing process themselves, if they are to be able to teach their students how to communicate effectively.
E. M. Forster, author of A Passage to India, asks, “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?”
C. Day Lewis, an early twentieth century poet, states, “We do not write to be understood; we write to understand.”
According to the Virginia Standards for English: “Proficiency in reading, writing, communication, and research skills allows students to learn and use knowledge to make meaningful connections between their lives and academic disciplines.”
Practicing the writing process forces students to engage in problem solving and critical thinking: breaking down information, reflecting, analyzing, making connections, communicating new meaning. Students learn how they think and how they can apply their thinking.
…become engaged citizens…
John Dewey educational theorist, states, “A democracy is more than a form of government; it is primarily a mode of associated living, of conjoint communicated experience.”
Aristotle, philosopher and teacher, is quoted as suggesting: “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
Without some mastery of writing skills and the appreciation for expressing her own thinking, a student cannot hope to function as an engaged citizen