Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Teaching and Learning Sciences, Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Norma Hafenstein

Second Advisor

Kimberly McDavid Schmidt

Third Advisor

Paul Michalec


Critical literacy, Secondary writing, Teaching writing, Writing instruction, Writing pedagogy, Writing teachers


A wide body of research finds teacher preparation programs fail to address the complexity of writing instruction, especially for secondary English-language Arts teachers (Coker & Lewis, 2008; Graham, 2019; Wahleithner, 2018). Beliefs and knowledge about writing determine how teachers approach pedagogical practices (McCarthey & Mkhize, 2013). One of many contextualized social literacy practices, writing is always ideological (Gee, 2105; Moje & Lewis, 2007). Competing research philosophies complicate development of teachers' practices and impedes research dissemination (Coker & Lewis, 2008; Hillocks, 2008; National Writing Project & Nagin, 2006). Structures informing school-based writing limit the types of writing practices (Bazerman, 2016). Using a phenomenological framework with a focus on sociocultural literacy, the researcher used a semistructured interview protocol with four ELA teachers who collaborated with an out-of-school writing organization, exploring their lived experiences teaching writing. Professionals with the organization structured on outcomes of resiliency, personal fulfillment, community, and engagement (Boston Youth Arts Evaluation Project, 2012), worked with teachers. Research questions were developed using Janks' (2009, 2010) critical literacy framework. An intercoder protocol for reliability ( O'Connor & Joffe, 2020) was employed after subjective analysis units were coded (Campbell et al., 2013). Coded text was heuristically analyzed for frequency (Saldaña, 2016) and common lived experiences (Vagle, 2014) teaching writing. Multiple cycles of emergent coding allowed development of themes which aligned with Janks and domains of critical stance (Lewison et al., 2015); all participants displayed these embedded practices. Because qualitative methodology was used, results are not generalizable (Creswell & Creswell, 2018). Teachers shared beliefs about the value of writing as expression and as an important school-based skill. Participants shared attributes of culturally responsive caring (Gay, 2018) and ethics of care (Noddings, 2005); relational practices preceded curricular practices. Implications suggest teacher preparation could directly target preservice ELA teachers who articulate broad understandings of writing with information regarding writing theories and pedagogy. Interventions should involve teacher licensing, defining knowledge required of secondary ELA teachers. Implications also indicate out-of-school writing organizations should be utilized as resources for writing development. The study indicates need for more research regarding how professional writing organizations can expand collaboration with ELA teachers.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Paul A. Viskanta


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

380 pgs


Language arts, Secondary education, Creative writing