cover of book

The Work of Teaching Writing: Learning from Fiction, Film, and Drama
by Joseph Harris
Utah State University Press, 2020
Paper: 978-1-60732-971-8 | eISBN: 978-1-60732-972-5
Library of Congress Classification PN1995.9.T4
Dewey Decimal Classification 791.436557

Film and literature can illuminate the experience of teaching and learning writing in ways that academic books and articles often miss. In particular, popular books and movies about teaching reveal the crucial importance of taking students seriously as writers and intellectuals. In this book, Joseph Harris explores how the work of teaching writing has been depicted in novels, films, and plays to reveal what teachers can learn from studying not just theories of discourse, rhetoric, or pedagogy but also accounts of the lived experience of teaching writing.
Each chapter examines a fictional representation of writing classes—Dead Poets Society, Up the Down Staircase, Educating Rita, Push, and more—and shifts the conversation from how these works portray teachers to how they dramatize the actual work of teaching. Harris considers scenes of instruction from different stages of the writing process and depictions of students and teachers at work together to highlight the everyday aspects of teaching writing.
In the writing classroom the ideas of teachers come to life in the work of their students. The Work of Teaching Writing shows what fiction, film, and drama can convey about the moment of exchange between teacher and student as they work together to create new insights into writing. It will interest both high school and undergraduate English teachers, as well as graduate students and scholars in composition and rhetoric, literary studies, and film studies.

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