4 Essential Studies: Beliefs and Practices to Reclaim Student Agency

  • Title:4 Essential Studies: Beliefs and Practices to Reclaim Student Agency
  • Author:Penny Kittle, Kelly Gallagher
  • Publication Date:November 2021
  • ISBN:9780325120065
  • Publisher:Heinemann

Essay. Poetry. Book Clubs. Digital Composition.  Penny Kittle and Kelly Gallagher extend their work in 180 Days: Two Teachers and the Quest to Engage and Empower Adolescents by taking a deep dive into  four essential studies. Their aim is to move beyond compliance and formula, and to develop students’ agency, independence, and decision-making skills. These four practices, they argue, have the power to  transform students’ relationship with literacy—and truly prepare them for the more demanding work of college.

A central belief underlies each of the four studies—that composing involves choosing, picking among options. It is not following a pre-set pattern. But if students are to make these choices, they need to be aware of the moves and possibilities open to them. That’s what this book does—it shows how teacher demonstrations, the skillful use of mentor texts, effective feedback (and many other tools) can make choices possible.

By reimagining how we teach essay, poetry, book clubs, and digital composition, we can open the door to more engaged, connected, and challenging learning.

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