In this presentation, Dr. Behizadeh offers a framework for powerful writing pedagogy (PWP) that blends three approaches to writing instruction: evidence-based practices for writing, authentic writing instruction, and critical composition pedagogy. Employing a PWP approach allows students to seek to impact social injustices through their compositions, connects to students’ lived experiences, and provides students necessary skills and strategies for effective writing. Yet in the United States, most middle and high school teachers are not engaged in PWP or other approaches to writing that embed evidence-based practices within authentic and critical projects. Instead, rote writing instruction dominates, such as worksheets on sentence types and standardized formulas for essay writing, a trend that is more pronounced in urban schools serving large populations of students with lower socioeconomic status.
In Dr. Behizadeh's current Spencer Foundation funded project examining factors in urban public schools that impede or support PWP, one emerging finding is that the teacher’s level of criticality, including their ability to critically reflect on their practice and the systemic factors that affect them and their students, appears to impact the extent to which they realize critical pedagogy in their classrooms. This has implications for teacher preparation and development, particularly regarding how teacher educators can support preservice and in-service teachers in developing their critical reflective practice. In the second half of her talk, Dr. Behizadeh presents a slice of her research on reframing deficit views through critical collaborative reflection and argues that enacting PWP has as a prerequisite that teachers develop their own critical faculties.