Doctoral Candidate's Article About an Innovative Writing Tool for Students to Be Published in English Journal

Jennifer Penaflorida
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Jennifer Penaflorida

Jennifer Penaflorida, a doctoral candidate and graduate assistant in the curriculum and instruction department at the University of Arkansas, will have an article published this summer in the award-winning English Journal.

English Journal is a publication of the National Council of Teachers of English and is a leading practitioner journal in the field of English teaching.

Penaflorida is the lead author on the piece titled "Signposts: Constructs for Navigating Rhetorical Paths." Her innovative work in a high school English class is highlighted in the article, which will publish in July.

Penaflorida's article focuses on a system she created called Signposts, a tool to help her high school students navigate the writing process. As she used the tool in her class, she witnessed changes in how she taught writing and, ultimately, how her students viewed themselves as writers.

"I noticed that although students entered my classroom with their own methods for writing, I saw that they were challenged when writing longer essays, essays that blend genres and weave more complex arguments," she said. "Signposts arose from this observation."

Penaflorida is thrilled her work will appear in English Journal.

"As a decade-long subscriber and reader of EJ, I was overjoyed when I received the news," she said. "This is the journal I would peruse through when I needed inspiration for teaching high school English. To know that my project can reach and even help other English teachers thrills me."

Vicki Collet, associate professor of childhood education.

Vicki Collet, associate professor of childhood education at the U of A, co-authored the article with Penaflorida.

"Ms. Penaflorida is an exceptionally talented scholar who has the ability to apply concepts in innovative ways," Collet said. "This innovation is evident in her application of backward planning to students' writing process, as described in the article for English Journal."

Penaflorida is a Doctoral Academy Fellow and is finishing her third year at the U of A. She's currently hard at work on her dissertation. She's working toward a Doctor of Philosophy in literacy, with a focus on writing instruction.

Penaflorida said professor Collet was definitely instrumental in the project.

"She was the one who saw something valuable in what I was doing in my classroom, and she encouraged me to pursue it when I arrived as a first-year Ph.D. student," Penaflorida said. "I still remember a moment when I couldn't finish the paper. I was stuck. She took it, read it, and rearranged my words to tell a clearer story. She helped me see what I couldn't see. I am grateful for her and the work we do together."

Collet praised Penaflorida for her innovation and noted that dissemination of her ideas through the article will no doubt help future educators.

"I'm confident that Ms. Penaflorida's ideas, as presented in this article, will be a valuable guide for teachers and students," Collet said. "The process she describes can be applied to any genre, making it a flexible tool for writers."


Vicki S. Collet, associate professor
Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Shannon Magsam, director of communications
College of Education and Health Professions


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