A teacher’s own early experiences with writing, whether positive or negative, have a significant effect on the students that they teach, especially those who go on to become teachers. In a graduate education and reading program at a public university in the southern United States, we ask our teachers through a writing biography assignment to explore these memories of their earliest writing experiences and determine how those experiences fit into their current teaching careers. For this qualitative project, the researcher analyzed essays that were submitted for a “Writing Autobiography” assignment for this graduate level writing class for educators. This study established that these teachers’ early experiences with writing significantly affected their efficacy in writing and in teaching writing to their current students. In some cases, the participants were young enough to still be learning handwriting when feelings of writing inadequacies were established through teacher criticism. While middle and high school also were listed as turning points in writing efficacy for these participants, the most common climatic moment for the participants—for better or worse—occurred in third, fourth, or fifth grades. Mentors, both teachers and family members, contributed to the recovery from early negative writing experiences in school. Qualitative findings support the importance of positive writing experiences in elementary school.
"Criticism, Praise, and the Red Pen: The Role of Elementary School Teachers on the Enduring Efficacy of Writing Instructors,"
Teaching/Writing: The Journal of Writing Teacher Education: Vol. 11:
1, Article 3.
Available at: https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/wte/vol11/iss1/3
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