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Professional Knowledge for the Teaching of Writing


National Council of Teachers of English. “Professional Knowledge for the Teaching of Writing.” February 2016,


Because writing has changed so dramatically since NCTE’s original publication, “NCTE Beliefs about the Teaching of Writing” in 2004, NCTE replaced that statement with this document to more accurately reflect current changes and professional principles related to the effective teaching of writing.

The document is organized by nine overarching statements, including an explanation of the statement, an unpacking of what the statement means for teaching, and related readings for further study. The nine statements are:

  • Writing grows out of many purposes

  • Writing is embedded in complex social relationships and their appropriate languages

  • Composing occurs in different modalities and technologies

  • Conventions of finished texts are an important dimension of the relationship between writers and readers

  • Everyone has the capacity to write; writing can be taught; and teachers can help students become better writers

  • Writing is a process

  • Writing is a tool for thinking

  • Writing has a complex relationship to talk

  • Writing and reading are related

Classroom Application

This updated document provides a meaningful look into what exactly each of these statements represent for teaching and learning purposes based on the way writing has expanded through technology, along with a much broader view of text creation. Each subsection provides specific understandings for teachers to work through, which may be most beneficial to do collaboratively as a department or team, integrated with continued professional learning for the teaching of writing.