Laying the foundation for successful non-academic writing: Professional communication principles in the K-5 curricula of the McKinney Independent School District.

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Traditionally, K-5 students' writing has had a primarily academic aim-to help students master concepts and express themselves. Even if students take a professional writing course later, they typically do not have the opportunity to practice-over the long period of time mastery requires-the non-academic writing skills they will be required to use as part of their jobs and in their civic life. Based on a limited K-5 study, Texas' McKinney Independent School District is doing a good job of preparing students at the elementary-school level in the areas of collaboration and presentation. A fair job of helping elementary-school students understand the ... continued below

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Treviño, Marlea December 2009.

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  • Treviño, Marlea

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Traditionally, K-5 students' writing has had a primarily academic aim-to help students master concepts and express themselves. Even if students take a professional writing course later, they typically do not have the opportunity to practice-over the long period of time mastery requires-the non-academic writing skills they will be required to use as part of their jobs and in their civic life. Based on a limited K-5 study, Texas' McKinney Independent School District is doing a good job of preparing students at the elementary-school level in the areas of collaboration and presentation. A fair job of helping elementary-school students understand the communication situation, define audience, clarify purpose, gather and evaluate resources, and test usability. [And] a poor job of helping elementary-school students with analysis and organization. With their teachers' help, K-5 students eventually grasp the communication situation and can broadly identify their audience and purpose, but they do not appear to select words, format, communication style, or design based on that audience and purpose. Their writer-based focus affects their presentations as well, although they do present frequently. If teachers routinely incorporated audience and purpose considerations into every aspect of communication assignments (format, communication style, design), students would be better prepared for non-academic communication. Texas pre-service teachers practice the types of documents they will write on the job but do not receive training in design or style. Likewise, they practice researching, collaborating, and presenting but receive little training in those skills. If Texas K-5 teachers are to supplement the curriculum with professional writing principles, as trends suggest they should, education programs need to focus on these principles in their pre-service teacher curriculum. Professional writing principles need to become part of ingrained writing patterns because these are the skills that will best serve students after they graduate, both in their careers and civic lives. Understanding how to tailor communication for audience and purpose; how to effectively collaborate; how to select, evaluate, analyze, and organize information efficiently and productively; and how to format presentations effectively requires practice over a long period of time.

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  • December 2009

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  • March 17, 2010, 11:40 a.m.

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  • May 13, 2010, 3:45 p.m.

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Treviño, Marlea. Laying the foundation for successful non-academic writing: Professional communication principles in the K-5 curricula of the McKinney Independent School District., dissertation, December 2009; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc12206/: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .