A narrowing curriculum in the secondary writing classroom: An autoethnography

Date

2022-08

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Abstract

As high-stakes testing becomes the normative practice in states such as Texas, a closer look at the consequences seen at the campus level is needed. Specifically, how are teachers of writing responding to the demands placed upon them by a standardized test and standardized curriculum? In this autoethnographic study, the voice of a literacy leader is used to explore the ways in which over time, best-practices for holistic writing instruction are replaced with a narrowed test-centric instruction. Using both transformational learning theory and the bildungsroman to undergird the writing, episodic short stories were crafted. Specifically, this body of work aimed to answer the following questions: (1) How did I become a secondary English Language Arts teacher? (2) What does it mean to be a secondary English language arts teacher in Texas? (3) How did I come to understand my role as a secondary English language arts teacher? (4) How did I come to understand my role as secondary literacy specialist?
Through an analysis of narrative or paradigmatic mode of analysis of the episodic short stories, tensions are exposed related to teaching tested writing versus creative writing practices, academic or scholarly writing versus narrative or creative writing and data driven instruction versus researched best practices.

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Keywords

Narrowing Curriculum, Test-Centric, Writing Classroom, Bildungsroman, Transformational Learning Theory, Episodic Short Stories, Tensions

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