What Writing Processes do Teacher Candidates Use? Findings from a Think-Aloud Protocol

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2020

Publication Title

Teaching/Writing: The Journal of Writing Teacher Education


The objective of this study was to examine changes in teacher candidates’ writing processes and writing quality while enrolled in a writing-enriched course that was part of a college of education’s teacher education program. Participants in the study were enrolled in an introductory middle grades course that focused on pedagogical methods in general. A modified think-aloud method was used to collect data on ten teacher candidates’ writing processes as they responded to a writing prompt, once at the beginning of the semester and then again at the end. Data examined were the final product of writing, writing processes used in real-time, and teacher candidates’ reflections on writing strategies after writing was complete. Taken together, the data showed that teacher candidates’ ability to write for a particular purpose and audience and their use evidence to back up written claims improved throughout the semester. We conclude that looking at multiple points of data – the final product of writing, writing processes, and explicitly described strategies to approach writing – to examine how teacher candidates develop as writers is a fruitful endeavour and that the writing-enriched course enhanced teacher candidates’ writing abilities.


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