P.L. Thomas wrote a review of The Writer’s Practice: Building Confidence in Your Nonfiction Writing by John Warner.

My favorite part of this review is the distinction between authoritarian teachers and authoritative teachers.

« Many who teach literacy struggle with the tension between being authoritarian and being authoritative—a foundational teaching decision emphasized in Paulo Freire’s critical pedagogy.

Writing and writing instruction driven by prompts, templates, and rubrics are authoritarian, thus simultaneously inauthentic and effective for control. Writing and writing instruction driven by structure (negotiated between teachers and students) and committed to providing students with many varied opportunities to make and practice the decisions writers make are authoritative, thus authentic but prone to uncertainty and unpredictability.

The authoritative teacher must have expertise and the ability to teach on the fly, regardless of the lesson plan. »

I also like this line from Thomas’ review of Warner’s Why They Can’t Write: Killing the Five-Paragraph Essay and Other Necessities.

« But he also offers foundational concepts and practices if our goal is to foster developing writers who think and compose by choice and with purpose. This is not about test-prep. This is not about inauthentic compliance masquerading as writing. »


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