chapter  6
35 Pages

Instructional Settings

ByMarilyn S. Sternglass

Noting that there are significant differences between the contexts of individual classrooms and more widespread institutional practices, Ackerman (1993) advocated a closer examination of these institutional contexts:

The institutional contexts in which write-to-learn activities are embedded have not been fully explored or explicated—either the context of the classroom or the larger context of cross-curricular or process-centered institutional agendas. To state this more positively, if we advocate and model writing and learning, we might also attempt to characterize the institutional contexts and philosophies that support our successful teaching strategies and anticipate ones that do not. The stock we have placed in autonomous classroom behaviors may result somewhat from another sense of autonomy—in theories of writing and learning that promote individual acts of discovery and expression. (p. 346)

Through observations of a wide range of courses in different disciplines and at different levels, it becomes possible to characterize the larger institutional context of learning environments. Then it is possible to examine the writing produced in a range of disciplines to determine whether the appropriate learning environment has been presented.