Small child at her desk in a classroom writing in pencil on a piece of paper

Never stop learning to teach

Local K-12 educators take advantage of the Teaching Writing and Literacy Certificate offered at Penn State Wilkes-Barre’s Northern Tier Center to learn to teach writing more effectively
By: Rachel Olszewski

“I was looking for new ideas to help me become a better educator,” explains Karla Johnson, who graduated from the Teaching Writing and Literacy Certificate program. Turns out Karla is not the only one.

In a world where children can learn to operate a smart phone before they can write, it is all the more important that youth learn how to communicate properly via the written word. Though writing is everywhere from tweets to text messages to emails and blogs, understanding how to write well is a challenge, even more so because the aforementioned media do not exactly promote grammatical correctness. It is daunting to counter the often-incorrect writing styles children are exposed to through social media, so local educators are seeking aid to better equip them to teach.

Kindergarten teacher Adrienne Cardona admits, “Writing is the area I feel I struggle with the most as a teacher. One teacher and 20 students who are beginning writers is an almost impossible task. I felt I really needed help with this.” Cardona cites this as her reason for participating in the Teaching Writing and Literacy Certificate program.

This particular specialized certificate is designed to afford educators deep study in all aspects of teaching literacy. It provides the teacher with real-world skills for implementing the writing requirements of the PA Core Standards, therefore allowing them to help their students produce higher quality writing.

Since 2014, the 15-credit program has been offered by and taught at Penn State Wilkes-Barre’s Northern Tier Center in Towanda to the satisfaction of many graduates.

“I learned some new ideas or refreshers to help improve my teaching,” claims Johnson.

The teachers for the courses are local educators who are passionate about teaching, extremely knowledgeable in their field, and provide an excellent curriculum for the students. The program is hybrid, so busy educators are able to learn online as well as in a classroom. In addition, the credits from the certificate could “step up,” to apply towards academic degrees at Penn State. This provides further opportunities for graduates to obtain more education at a later time.

Both Cardona and Johnson are looking forward to implementing new ideas into their curricula for the next school year.

“I am very pleased with what I learned,” Cardona shares. “The classes have invigorated me and given me hope that I can be a better writing teacher!”

To register or for more information, visit the Teaching Writing and Literacy Certificate Program web page.