Date of Award

Spring 5-2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education & Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Thomas Cordy, PhD

Second Advisor

Robert Slavinsky, PhD

Third Advisor

Nicole Gillespie, PhD

Abstract

For over twenty years, Bard College's Institute for Writing and Thinking (IWT) has been used to teach its incoming freshmen how to use writing as a tool to think more creatively and at a higher conceptual level. Bard students use these writing tools to understand the content of all their subject and communicate clearly and creatively. The Bard writing model consists of a series of interconnected writing and dialectic activities that are consistently used throughout Bard College’s curriculum. This program of writing and writing instruction has also been offered to the public in a series of workshops. The majority of the attendees of these workshops are educators from all grade levels and subject areas. Though secondary school teachers use strategies that they have learned at Bard College, the only high school that the researcher could find that has adopted the complete Bard model into its school-wide curriculum is WT High School (WTHS).

This study documented the Bard Institute for Writing and Thinking model by observing and participating in a week-long summer workshop. Data from this site consist of journal entries which describe the activities, group dynamics, and document reviews. After reviewing the Bard IWT curriculum and instructional procedures, the researcher observed and participated in WT High School’s writing and thinking week-long workshop which teaches the same activities as Bard. Nine students responded to semi-structured questions that were designed to ascertain their perceptions of the Bard writing model and their school. Other students and staff members were informally interviewed and also asked about their perceptions of writing and their school.

The researcher did not attempt to prove that the Bard writing model was better than any other writing instructional strategy, but rather presented an alternative way of using writing in all academic disciplines. Writing instruction on the secondary school level often emphasizes structure, neglecting content. This study presents writing strategies that can be used to help students generate and develop higher order thinking ideas that may balance the quality of the content and form of their writing.

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