The rapid growth of teaching the “writing process” instead of allowing academic content drive writing instruction is “literacy kudzu” writes Will Fitzhugh. And like the infamously invasive weed, it’s growing out of control in our schools.
We now have, I suggest, an analogous risk from the widespread application of “the evidence-based techniques and processes of literacy instruction, k-12.” At least one major foundation and one very old and influential college for teachers are now promoting what I have described as “guidelines, parameters, checklists, techniques, processes and the like, as props to substitute for students’ absent motivation to describe or express in writing something that they have learned.”
By privileging process over content, literacy kudzu threatens to “choke attention to the reading of complete books and the writing of serious academic papers by the students in our schools,” writes Fitzhugh, whose gloriously anachronistic Concord Review is the only journal in the world that publishes academic research papers written by high school students.
“I hope they, including the foundations and the university consultant world, may before too long pause to re-consider their approach to literacy instruction, before we experience the damage from this pest-weed which they are presently, perhaps unwittingly, in the method-technique-process of spreading in our schools,” he concludes