Recentering Purpose and Audience as Part of a Critical, Humanizing Approach to Writing Instruction

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6 Scopus citations


This study addressed tensions faced by teachers in balancing the types of writing valued in today’s schools, the needs of today’s writers beyond school, and the rich cultural and linguistic resources that students bring into today’s classrooms. Drawing from data generated in a larger study of teachers in an inquiry group and their related classroom practice, I focus on one fourth-grade teacher’s work to explore the following research question: How might teachers translate critical, humanizing pedagogies into their classroom writing instruction? New understandings illuminated in this article highlight how one teacher drew on purpose and audience, as (re)defined tools for writing, to recognize and value her students’ capabilities and to support them as agentive designers of texts. To examine these possibilities for repositioning students and approaching writing instruction from a critical, humanizing perspective, I describe this teacher’s shift from beginning with genre to beginning with purpose and audience and draw attention to the teacher’s and students’ use of these tools for guiding their decision making across multiple writing situations in a school year. Implications from this study add to understandings of critical, humanizing pedagogies by specifically considering how these approaches might be translated into writing instruction across pre-K–12.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-58
Number of pages22
JournalReading Research Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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