Mission Statement for Teacher-Student
Student-teacher conferences have a longstanding tradition in the
teaching of writing (Black 1998, Freedman & Katz 1987, Freedman
& Sperling 1985, Newkirk 1980, Sperling 1990). We ask
students to meet with us three times a semester, and we expect
students to come prepared to discuss their work as writers and
students during these conferences.
Sometimes they want to discuss issues that keep them from
writing, like problems with relationships, roommates, transitioning
from high school to college, or general stresses. So, these
conferences serve as an important extension of the ENG 1000C
classroom because they offer the space for teachers to get a more
holistic view of a student. During conferences, we can see
more than just how they interact behind their desks, and we can
know more than just what we respond to in their papers.
Through one-on-one conferences, students become people in their
teachers’ eyes, and we become people to whom students feel
As faculty, we relish an opportunity to extend
our written responses, those we write on student papers, into
verbal discussions during conferences. With 25 students in
each of our classes, meeting with students one-on-one provides
teachers a chance to offer each of our students more individual
These conferences provide us with
opportunities to address concerns specific to each student’s
work. During conferences, students have a chance to ask for
clarification on feedback, class discussions, and readings.
Students may aim to use conferences to understand their progress
and discuss ways to better meet their goals as writers, learners,
and students. Sometimes students also need some guidance or
support for what ails them. Depending on a student’s needs,
the conferences can be once academic andpersonal.
Black, Laurel Johnson. Between Talk
and Teaching: Reconsidering the Writing Conference.
Logan, Utah, Utah State University Press, 1998.
Carnicelli, Thomas. “The Writing Conference: A
One-to One Conversation.” Eight Approaches to Teaching
Composition. Eds. T. R. Donovan and B.W McClelland.
Urbana, IL: NCTE, 1980. 101-131.
Freedman, Sarah and Amy Katz.
“Pedagogical Interaction During the Composing Process: The Writing
Conference.” Writing in Real Time: Modeling Production
Processes. Ed. A. Matsuhasi. New York: Academic
Press, 1987. 58-80.
Freedman, Sarah and Melanie Sperling.
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Conference.” Acquisition of Written Language: Response and
Revision. Ed. S. Freeman. Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1985.
Goldstein, Lynn and Susan M. Conrad.
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Conferences.” TESOL Quarterly24.3 (Autumn 1990):
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Minutes: Setting the Agenda in a Writing
Conference.” Writing and Response: Theory, Practice, and
Research. Ed. Chris Anson. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 1980.
Sperling, Melanie. “I Want To Talk to Each of
You: Collaboration and the Teacher-Student Writing
Conference.” Research in the Teaching of English24.3
Walker, Carolyn P and David Elias. “Writing
Conference Talk: Factors Associated with High- and Low- Rated
Writing Conferences.” Research in the Teaching of
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