Introductory Letter

Mary Ann Corley, Ph.D., TEAL Director
Larry Condelli, Ph.D., Managing Director

February 1, 2012

It is my pleasure to introduce you to the Teaching Excellence in Adult Literacy (TEAL) Just Write! Guide. This guide is the culmination of two years of work in identifying research-based instructional practices in the content area of writing. It also incorporates professional wisdom gleaned from participants in the six TEAL online courses on effective instruction.

A word about the background of TEAL: American Institutes for Research, through a contract awarded by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE), assists OCTAE in its efforts to enhance state and local adult education providers’ capacity to understand and apply evidence-based instructional practices that promote student learning. The TEAL Center is designed to improve the quality of adult education teaching in content areas. Focused on the content area of writing for adult basic education (ABE) students, the TEAL Center offers an intensive program of professional development and individualized technical assistance.

Because content knowledge is but one important facet of quality instruction, TEAL Center staff developed a series of six online courses to help teachers become familiar with the equally important elements of quality teaching: research-based processes and approaches. Accordingly, teams of teachers and a professional development coordinator from 12 states participated in the first round of online courses and the field test of TEAL materials; they engaged in online courses from October 2010 through July 2011 on the following topics:

  • Strategy Instruction
  • Self-Regulated Learning
  • Universal Design for Learning
  • Formative Assessment
  • Differentiated Instruction
  • Effective Lesson Planning

Through the online courses, participants across the 12 states formed an online community of practice in which they could share ideas and resources and discuss possible solutions to instructional challenges encountered in the ABE classroom. The capstone event was the TEAL Summer Institute in August 2011, during which participants engaged in hands-on activities facilitated by leading researchers in writing instruction and had the opportunity to weave together all they learned through the online courses about effective instruction, consider this learning in the context of writing instruction, and develop and share lesson plans for teaching writing strategies.

The Just Write! Guide is a resource guide for ABE teachers, intended to increase familiarity with evidence-based writing instruction and to facilitate translation of research findings into teaching practices and products that will enhance the quality of instruction delivered to adult learners. We hope that the guide will inspire adult education teachers to write more, think more deeply about the writing they do with their students, and consider how to enhance their instruction overall.

Numerous individuals helped with the development of this guide and the online courses. First and foremost, on behalf of AIR, I offer a hearty thank you to Heidi Silver-Pacuilla, the principal researcher who led the conceptualization and development of the guide and the online courses. I also offer sincere appreciation to the TEAL subject matter experts who willingly reviewed and provided guidance to TEAL staff along our journey as we fashioned the guide and the courses: Mary Beth Curtis, Noel Gregg, Tracey Hall, Charles “Skip” MacArthur, Linda Mason, Brett Miller, Elizabeth “Boo” Murray, Dolores Perin, David Scanlon, and Tanya Shuy. In addition, I extend appreciation to the OCTAE staff members who provided constant support throughout the development of the online courses and guide: Chris Coro and Mary Jo Marali, as well as to AIR staff members who have supported this effort at numerous junctures: Mark Kutner, Larry Condelli, Mariesa Cash, Melissa Storm, Dahlia Shaewitz, Barbera Crawford, Helen Duffy, W. Christine Rauscher, Renee Sherman, Marcela Movit, Adam Battle, Rachel Goins, Scott Buckley, and Kip Thomson.


Signature of Mary Ann Corley

Mary Ann Corley, Ph.D.
Director, TEAL Center, and
Principal Research Analyst,
American Institutes for Research



We appreciate the vision and guidance provided by the subject matter experts and U.S. Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) staff to the work of the Teaching Excellence in Adult Literacy (TEAL) Center.

Mary Beth Curtis
Director, Special Education Centers
and Institutes
Lesley University

Noel Gregg
Associate Dean of Research, College
of Education
University of Georgia

Tracey E. Hall
Senior Research Scientist/
Instructional Designer
CAST, Inc.

Charles "Skip" MacArthur
Professor, School of Education
University of Delaware

Linda Mason
Associate Professor, Educational and
School Psychology and Special Education
Pennsylvania State University

Brett Miller
Health Scientist Administrator
National Institutes of Child Health and
Human Development

Elizabeth "Boo" Murray
Senior Research Scientist/Instructional
CAST, Inc.

Dolores Perin
Professor of Psychology and Education
Teachers College
Columbia University

David Scanlon
Associate Professor, Department
of Teacher Education, Special Education,
and Curriculum & Instruction
Boston College

Christopher Coro
Deputy Director, Division of Adult Education
and Literacy
U.S. Department of Education
Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education

Mary Jo Maralit
Education Program Specialist
U.S. Department of Education
Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education

Tanya Shuy
Education Program Specialist
U.S. Department of Education
Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education