Teaching for Writing Improvement | Teachers College Columbia University

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Teaching for Writing Improvement

March 31, 2022 - April 24, 2022

Registration Fee: $595

Space is limited.

Group/Team Discount (5 or more): 25% off the registration fee, please contact cps@tc.columbia.edu to register

Units Awarded: Participants receive 20 Clock Hours and 20 CTLEs (applicable only to NYS residents).


This is a 2-module, 20 clock-hour, online professional development course that provides teachers and other educators with information about how to teach writing to elementary, middle and high school students who do not have full proficiency in writing. The course introduces participants to a framework for understanding the writing process, and describes techniques for teaching and assessing writing that are supported by empirical research. The course is online for 4 weeks (March 31 - April 24, 2022). Participants submit required work at their own pace and may complete the requirements over 4 weekends during the month the course is online.

This course is asynchronous, meaning that participants complete the modules at their own pace, at times of their convenience, and do not have to be online at any given time within the one-month period. Students must complete Module 1 to receive acess to Module 2 and must complete Module 2 to complete the course. A digital certificate will be awarded upon completion of both Modules.

Please Note: There is no partial credit towards clock hours or CTLEs for partial participation of the course. All assignments are due on the last Sunday of the course at 11:59 PM EST.

Who should attend?

Teachers and other practitioners who wish to boost students’ writing ability, including: K-12 teachers in English language arts, content-area and special education classrooms; school principals; professional development personnel, and school administrators.

Description of Modules

Module 1: Conceptual Framework and Writing Assessment – 10 clock hours

Framework for understanding how we write.

  • Models of the writing process
  • Sociocultural influences on the writing process
  • Writing of native and non-native speakers of English
  • Emotional factors in the writing process (anxiety and depression related to writing tasks)
  • The development of writing skills: typical acquisition, and patterns in dyslexia and other LDs

Assessment of writing in school settings.

  • Assessing the quality of writing of proficient English speakers and English language learners
  • Assessing use of vocabulary in writing
  • Assessing conventions in writing (grammar, punctuation)
  • Assessing spelling
  • Controversy: automated, computer-based assessment

Module 2: How to Teach Writing in School Settings – 10 clock hours

  • How to plan to teach writing based on prior assessment (teaching foundational and higher level skills in elementary, middle and high school; using evidence-based approaches to teach writing)
  • Teaching culturally and linguistically diverse populations (cultural sensitivity; ELL and Generation 1.5 learners)
  • Common core standards for three major genres of academic writing (narrative, persuasive/ argumentative, and informational/ explanatory)
  • How to teach narrative writing – elementary school level
  • How to teach persuasive/ argumentative writing at the elementary school level
  • How to teach persuasive/ argumentative writing at the middle and high school level
  • How to teach informational/ explanatory writing at the elementary school level
  • How to teach informational/ explanatory writing at the middle and high school level
  • How to contextualize the teaching of writing
  • How to integrate the teaching of writing and reading (text-based writing; summarization)

Learning Objectives

Participants will be become familiar with the following concepts and practices in teaching writing to students who have writing difficulties:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the processes in skilled writing
  • Describe the writing of various populations, including typically-developing students, students with learning difficulties, native English speakers, non-native speakers who speak English fluently, and English language learners
  • Demonstrate an understanding of influences on writing ability, such as sociocultural differences and emotional functioning
  • Describe research-based approaches to assessing writing in school settings
  • Create a plan to teach writing to low-achieving students at a specific grade level
  • Demonstrate understanding of approaches to teaching writing to culturally and linguistically diverse students
  • Discuss common core competencies for major academic genres of writing (narrative, descriptive/ informational and persuasive/ argumentative)
  • Describe best practice for teaching narrative, descriptive/ informational and persuasive/ argumentative writing skills to low-achieving students
  • Describe how the teaching of writing can be contextualized
  • Explain how the teaching of writing and reading can be integrated


  Dolores Perin

Dolores Perin

Dr. Dolores Perin is Professor Emerita of Psychology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. She has taught courses in reading and writing methods for many years at Teachers College. She is a state-licensed psychologist who is experienced in working with individuals with learning difficulties including dyslexia.

Frequently Asked Questions for Teaching Writing for Improvement course

1. What are the dates of the course?

The program opens on March 31, 2022 and ends on April 24, 2022. Everyone who has registered will be sent a link to the course two weeks before the course begins.

2. What will be my experience in the course?

There are two modules, each designed to take 10 hours. In each module, you will view and listen to narrated PowerPoint slides, view video links and other materials, answer questions about the materials, and write brief reflections.

3. Who will see my answers?

You will be posting your answers and reflections on a discussion board. After you submit each post, you will be able to see other students’ posts. This means that all students will be able to see each other’s answers and reflections. Students will also be asked to answer a few brief questions while viewing the professor's lectures that only the professor will see.

4. What happens after I finish a module?

At the end of each module you will be asked to complete an exit activity, which involves answering some brief questions about the material. When you complete all the required work in Module 1, including the exit activity, Module 2 will be unlocked for you. Within one month of completing all the work in Module 2, including the exit activity, you will receive a digital certificate.

5. What happens when I complete the two modules?

After you complete the two modules and exit activity for each, you will receive a Certificate of Participation from Teachers College, as well as 20 Clock Hours and 20 CTLEs (CTLEs are for NY residents only).

6. Do I have to buy materials?

No. All materials are accessible through the course website at no charge over and above the registration fee.

7. Do I have to be online at any one time?

You must complete the course within the time period March 31 - April 24, 2022. You may do the work at any time and do not have to be online at any given time during this period. You may complete the work during the four weekends during the month the course is online.

8. How long am I expected to be online?

You will be expected to spend at least 20 hours completing activities in the course.

9. How do I receive my Professional Development Hours or CTLEs?

Within one month of completing the course, you will be sent a Clock Hour or CTLE certificate by Teachers College, Columbia University. All participants who complete the course will receive a Certificate of Participation for 20 Clock Hours. Participants who require CTLE certificates must provide the last four digits of their social security number and provide their name exactly as it appears on the TEACH website.

10. What learning management system will be used?

The learning management system for all courses at Teachers College, Columbia University is Canvas.

11. What should I do if I cannot get into the Canvas website after I am sent the link on March 31, 2022, or if I have problems with Canvas functions once I’m at the website?

If you have any issues with Canvas, you can call the Canvas Support Hotline at 844-906-0594 anytime. Once you are in Canvas, you can click on "Help" on the left of the screen to report a problem through email or LiveChat with a support specialist.

12. Can I take the course for credit?

This is a non-credit Professional Development course.

13. Is the course convertible to credits?

The program is not convertible to credits.

14. Can I pay for this program using a school purchase order, or pay by check?

Yes. If you wish to pay by purchase order or by check, please send an email to cps@tc.columbia.edu with the names, titles and email contacts of the participants. Payment must be received no later than March 31, 2022.

15. Are there any registration discounts?

Yes, we offer a 25% reduction in the registration fee for 5 or more participants from the same organization who register at the same time. Contact cps@tc.columbia.edu for more information.

16. What is your cancellation policy?

Cancellation Policy:
Continuing Professional Studies at Teachers College, Columbia University will provide a full (100%) reduction of charges if the written request to withdraw is received at least 30 days prior to the first scheduled session. Given the demand for this course and the work entailed in its preparation, if the cancellation is reported within 30 days or fewer before the course starts, only 50% of the total charges will be credited. Registrants who wish to withdraw on or after the start date of a course will not receive any reduction of charges.

Registrants who fail to attend and do not cancel prior to the event will be liable for full charges for the event.

NOTE: All refund requests must be made in writing to the Continuing Professional Studies<cps@tc.columbia.edu> at Teachers College, Columbia University. Refunds will be made in the payment method received. Please allow 4-6 weeks for check refunds to be processed and 3-5 days for credit card refunds.

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