April Conference 2022
The 2022 April conference focuses on the foundational IWT practice of process writing—writing that invites reflection on one’s own writing, learning, or thinking. Long traditions in educational philosophy, writing studies, and pedagogical research have called attention to the transformative role of metacognitive reflection in learning. Metacognition not only helps learners build awareness of their own learning, but also empowers them to take action by planning and directing their learning. “Upon its intellectual side,” wrote John Dewey, “education consists in the formation of wide-awake, careful, thorough habits of thinking.” Reflective practice can also revolutionize the affective and social dimensions of learning. It helps us to take a step back and examine our own positionality in the work that we do—as students and as educators. Metacognition can be a powerful tool for cultivating critical consciousness, illuminating how race, gender, and socioeconomic status shape our classroom dynamics and our world and helping students to recognize their place within these dynamics.
This year’s conference focuses on the powerful role that writing—and process writing in particular—plays in fostering “wide-awake” habits of self-reflection in our students. Many teachers know from firsthand experience how generative process writing can be. The conference invites educators of all disciplines to shake up their rhythms of process writing and to explore a more expansive vision for metacognitive practices in their teaching. In small workshop groups, participants will use writing-to-read practices to probe the rich philosophy and pedagogy of process writing. We will experiment with new ways to implement reflective writing practices, not merely as a coda to a learning sequence or assignment (and sometimes the first thing to get cut!), but as a pursuit that permeates every aspect of the learning process. Collaborative, writing-intensive workshops will be a laboratory for generating more effective, creative, and multifaceted process writing prompts. Our work will seek to address the many dimensions of metacognition: What do we know? How do we learn best? And how can we recognize and respond to dynamics of inclusion, exclusion, and agency in our midst? Working together, we will explore ways to include a reflective practice in order to support our students’ identities and sense of place and to foster equity in our classrooms.