George Hillocks, Jr. is Professor Emeritus in the departments of Education and English Language and Literature at The University of Chicago. He has taught writing in Chicago schools for over twenty-five years. In 1997 he won the NCTE David H. Russell Research Award for the book Teaching Writing as Reflective Practice. In 2004 he received NCTE’s Distinguished Service Award.
View George Hillocks, Jr. Resume/Vita, Publications and Workshops.
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- Promoting inference making and interpretation in reading literature
- Writing narrative
- Writing argument (see sample workshops below)
- Sequencing works to develop inference making and interpretation in teaching literature
- Critical thinking
- Integrating critical thinking, writing and literature
- Curriculum development
- Grammar usage and language development
Hillocks, G. (2007). Narrative writing: Learning a new model for teaching. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Hillocks, G.. (2002). The testing trap: How state writing assessments controllearning. New York: Teachers College Press.
Hillocks, G.. (1999). Ways of thinking, ways of teaching. New York: Teachers College Press.
Hillocks, G.. (1995). Teaching writing as reflective practice. New York: Teachers College Press.
Workshops on Teaching Argument:
Dr. Hillocks offers workshops on the teaching of argument of various lengths and at various levels of intensity. These workshops engage participants in activities that result in understanding the elements of solid argument and the ability to use similar activities in their own classrooms. The Common Core Standards, adopted by more and more states, require argument as do many tests of writing including state writing tests and the SAT and ACT exams. Each of the three workshops that follow is basic to understanding how argument works and to understanding effective teaching of argument. For best results, we recommend that schools offer their teachers several workshops with opportunities to trying out and discuss the various activities with colleagues. For expanded descriptions of these workshops, click here.
Workshop I: The Basics of Argument (Argument of Fact)
Participants learn to develop the elements of basic argument by participating in processes they will be able to use in their classes with their own students. One of the basic activities for teaching argument of fact or forensic argument involves students in examining a picture of a crime scene and an eye-witness account of events that the witness says led to the death of her husband. The activity then changes to writing a report of the group findings, which is an argument. Next, students work in small groups on a second crime scene and eye-witness account with a task of determining who the shooter might have been. Then, the group writes a report to a person not present at the scene making their strongest case for what should be done.
Workshop II: Arguments of Judgment
Arguments of judgment include the same elements as do arguments of fact (above). The main difference is that the warrants are always definitions of the term by which the subject is being judged. The definitions must be defended by means of extended definitions, explanations of how the target is different from similar but different things or concepts. In the first activity, the teacher leads a discussion of a scenario about Superman stopping a rushing train which is about to crush Lois Lane. Participants usually decide that Superman cannot be considered courageous because there is not imminent danger to him. With the teacher coaching, they develop the criterion that for an act to be courageous there must be some imminent and real danger to the actor. Next, working in small groups participants examine a set of 12 brief scenarios in which characters act in a context of some apparent danger. They decide whether the act is courageous or not and write out their own definitions of courageous action. Following activities involve reading various literary works and news stories and making arguments about whether the actions of characters are courageous or not.
Workshop III: Arguments of Policy
Arguments of policy are more complex because they include arguments of fact and judgment and then arguments about what should be done. First, the argument must explicate what the problem is (the facts of the case) and why it is a problem (a judgment about why it is a problem). Finally, such arguments propose a solution which in itself may involve arguments of fact and judgment. This workshop proceeds as do the first two, beginning with a problem with students working out its dimensions, then writing about it as a group, followed by small group work on another problem followed by individual work.
Past workshops presented by George Hillocks, Jr. include:
November 21, 2008
Conforming to and breaking with NCTE standards for the teaching of writing. Richard Meade Award talk. NCTE Annual Convention
November 22, 2008. High Stakes writing assessmentand the K-12 classroom: Where are we now? NCTE Annual Convention.
November 22, 2008
High tea with George HIllocks, Talk: CEL as the agent for change in the teaching of English.
July 15-18, 2008. series of three three-hour workshops on teaching argument or narrative at various Writing Project sites in CA: University of California at Irvine, Riverside, and Santa Barbara.
March 2008. Consultant to Measured Progress, Inc. for evaluating 1600 reading test items.
July 16-20, 2007. Series of five three-hour workshops on teaching argument or narrative at various Writing Project sites in CA: University of California at Irvine, Riverside, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, and California State University at Los Angeles.
March 2007. Consultant to Measured Progress, Inc. for evaluating 1500 reading test items.
January 25-27, 2007. Three–day workshop for Colorado teachers on teaching argument.