Career Clustersâ„¢ Institute Series: Beyond Resumes and Cover Letters; Rigorous and Relevant Technical Writing

This blog series provides readers with insight on the valuable content that will be shared at the upcoming Career Clusters â„¢ Institute. Guest bloggers are among teachers, faculty, researchers and other experts that will present at the national gathering in Washington, DC in June.

Carol Larkin (pictured) is both a Secondary and Post-Secondary English Instructor. She has been a teacher for more than 37 years, spending the last 15 years in Career Technical Education (CTE) as an applied English teacher.

More than 80 percent of high school students’ writing involves academic writing about literature. This is no longer adequate preparation for the workplace or college. Greater emphasis must be placed on training students on how to communicate in the growing technical world. Teachers and faculty also must learn about technical writing, its rigor and relevance to academic and CTE and gain ideas about how to implement such writing in the classroom.

The new Common Core State Standards Initiative has untethered writing from the English department and sent it across the CTE curriculum. Writing now takes on the role of a real world application for our students.

How do we integrate this real world writing into our technology courses? The answer: through an understanding of technical writing—its form, style, and function—and technical writing projects! In order to implement courses with this approach to writing, it is critical that academic and technical instructors collaborate and provide writing opportunities across the curriculum.

Why should technical writing be integrated into both academic and technical courses? Technical writing:

• Engages students in critical thinking and writing
• Prepares your students for college level writing
• Makes writing real and relevant to the student

The foundation of technical writing begins in English class with the study of form, style and function; students then apply what they learn about writing in their technical classes. As an applied English teacher, I work with the technology instructors. We plan projects that require progress reports, research, flyers, brochures, instruction manuals, presentations and much more. Our program has existed for over 20 years. On a yearly basis less than five percent of our students need writing remediation upon entering college.

This session provides you with three critical components to create rigorous writing assignments:

• Knowledge of how technical writing differs from academic writing
• Structure for the Academic and Tech teachers to create rigorous writing assignments

Real time projects combining technical class work with Language Arts writing. I have worked with colleagues across disciplines to develop and test a curriculum that instructs students both in the traditional language arts as well as technical writing. In today’s global economy and society, students studying all disciplines and entering all types of careers will need writing and communication skills to succeed.

Learn more about how you can provide valuable, real –world writing instruction for students by attending Carol’s session at the Institute: Beyond Resumes and Cover Letters; Rigorous and Relevant Technical Writing. Register today.

Carol can be reached at

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager


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