This is that rarest of things—a high-quality, free, online resource made specifically for adult educators. Although the “Just Write!” Guide is mainly about writing instruction, there is a lot of material here regarding pedagogy in the adult ed classroom in general. What’s satisfying is that it is research-based (the fancy term is “meta-analysis) and that most of us who have worked in adult ed for any length of time will find our own understanding of how to teach adults validated in these pages.
The Guide is very user-friendly, consisting of one-pagers on each of the important points made about teaching writing. Each page includes a summary of the research as well as a clear teaching suggestions and activities, and quotes from adult educators who have successfully used them. The page entitled “Increase Amount of Student Writing,” for example, includes a graph showing the amount of time students actually spend writing in most classrooms, and some really helpful suggestions for increasing writing. One of these suggestions is the use of “Quick-Writes.” The inset paragraph describes when and why to use this technique. Another suggestion is “Writing to Learn,” with a number of alternatives, such as Exit Slips and “Yesterday’s Headlines,” the “headline” from today’s class.
Here is a list of the recommendations:
• Increase Amount of Student Writing
• Teach Summarization
• Use Collaborative Writing
• Set Specific Product Goals
• Teach Sentence Combining
• Introduce Prewriting Activities
• Use a Process Approach
• Provide Students with Written Models and Guided Practice
You may not use all of these practices in your classroom, but chances are you use some, and you will likely enjoying hearing the research base that supports them. Chances are you will also find something really new and helpful in this Guide. Because the Guide is both theoretical and practical, you’ll be able to try new techniques and understand the research behind it.