Writing in Knowledge-Building Communities

Mari Haneda, Gordon Wells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Despite the increasing technologization of society - or perhaps, indeed, because of it - literacy continues to be one of the principal goals of education. Yet the way in which the goal of literacy development is interpreted in classroom practice too easily becomes reduced to the mastering of what are sometimes called basic skills, as students engage in routine exercises in reading and writing, drawn from textbooks that they have no part in choosing. However, full literacy - the disposition to engage appropriately with texts of different types in order to empower action, thinking, and feeling in the context of purposeful social activity - will never be achieved until students' interests and purposes become the driving force for the literacy curriculum. This change is even more true for students discovering how writing can be an occasion for learning. In this conceptual paper, therefore, we focus on some of the roles that writing can play in developing literacy and learning when it takes place within classroom knowledge-building communities. To illustrate our argument, we draw on examples from the classrooms of teacher researcher colleagues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)429-457
Number of pages29
JournalResearch in the Teaching of English
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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