Because I view writing development as inherently related to social interaction, one line of my research advances dialogue as a primary mode of writing instruction. This instructional model contrasts with more traditional models that teach students the forms and structures of writing, often reducing the act of writing to the slotting of ideas into prescribed forms. Some might see school genres as fixed forms students need to learn, but real-world genres are comprised of certain writing moves that people typically make in the genre in order to accomplish common goals. Thus, rather than learning forms and structures, students can learn the writing moves that work in a genre, and they can learn to make these moves through dialogue.
Along with other colleagues, I explore dialogue as a model of writing instruction. Dialogue refers to the actual talk in the classroom in which students learn to make writing moves by hearing and practicing them, but I also mean dialogue beyond classroom interaction. Students’ argumentative writing should give them the opportunity to be in dialogue with their classrooms, schools, communities, disciplines, and the world about topics that are meaningful to them.