Becoming a Teacher of Writing: George Hillocks and the Power of Disruption

Mr. Anderson Reads & Writes

This is the second part of a three-part series exploring my growth as a teacher of writing. The first part can be found here.

Many teachers of writing act as though writing is best done under some sort of compulsion, involving surrender to mysterious psychic powers that take place over the task of producing text. They believe that this state may be attained in a number of ways and order classroom activities accordingly, dimming lights, listening to emotive music, writing freely without inhibition

I was a quarter of the way through George Hillocks’s Teaching Writing as Reflective Practice when I read the above sentence. I put the book down, twirling my highlighter between my fingers as I attempted to come to grips with what I had just read. While I’d never lit candles in my classroom, my students would attest to my use of emotive music and inhibition-free writing. I started pacing back and forth in my…

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