Tapping the Power: Writing to Learn Language, Content, and Process

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When we think about the role writing can play in helping our students learn, we often have to remind ourselves what we believe about learning and what we want students to learn.

For us, learning is when people engage in the meaningful and meaning-making practices of the communities they participate in. This might be when they participate in a club or a sport or a performance; it might be when they are with their family or friends; it might be when they participate in their religious or social organizations. In schools, we think of learning in terms of disciplinary communities. That is, in science classes, we consider the scientific community; in art and music classes, we envision the community of artists; in mathematics courses, we focus on mathematicians, and so on. Of course, we are aware that these are not the only communities students participate in, and that many out of school communities provide social status for them among their peers, within their towns, within on-line communities, and more.

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