George Newell

Emeritus, Department of Teaching and Learning
Returning Retiree, Department of Teaching and Learning

Program Area: Adolescent, Post-Secondary, and Community Literacies

(614) 292-1844

Personal Website


George Newell is professor of Adolescent, Post-Secondary and Community Literacies in the Department of Teaching and Learning. He currently teaches courses in the English language arts teacher education program on topics such as the teaching of writing, the teaching of literature, and teacher-inquiry. He also teaches graduate-level courses on researching written composition and teaching and teaching education. 

While teaching high school English, Newell completed a master's degree in English education at the University of Pittsburgh. These experiences led him to the then emerging field of written composition, an area of teaching and educational research that he has pursued throughout his academic life. As a graduate student, he worked as a research assistant for the National Study of Secondary School Writing, taught in the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP) and received his PhD in Programs in Writing, Reading and Language from Stanford University in 1983.

Newell's first academic position was teaching college composition. He received tenure as an English education professor at the University of Kentucky, and then arrived at The Ohio State University where he has been an English education and Adolescent Literacies professor since 1989. He also co-directs the Columbus Area Writing Project (CAWP) with David Bloome.

Newell has published in English Journal, English Education, Research in the Teaching of English, The Journal of Literacy Research, and Written Communication.

He lives in northwest Columbus with his wife, Mary Jo. They have two sons, George Jr. and Michael.

Link: Columbus-Area Writing Project

Link: Curriculum Vita


  • PhD, Programs in Writing, Reading and Language, Stanford University, 1983
  • MEd, English Education, University of Pittsburgh, 1978
  • BA, English, St. Vincent College, 1973

Research Interests

Research Summary

Newell's research focuses on investigations of the contexts of schooling and the cognitive and linguistic demands of social practices associated with the teaching and learning of argumentation and argumentative writing in English language arts classrooms; examining the kinds of instructional support for those social practices; and assessing the knowledge and new understandings that result.

His other projects have included studies of teachers' conceptions of writing instruction and literature teaching and how such conceptions shape the construction of their classroom curricula. For a number of years, he has examined the contexts for learning to teach secondary English language arts, the development of early-career English teachers and the nature of the support and mentoring they receive for such development.

More recently he has been conducting a four-year study (with David Bloome, Alan Hirvela and Tzu-Jung Lin) with the support of a grant from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) titled, “Teaching and Learning Literature-Related Argumentative Writing in English Language Arts Classrooms.”



  • Teaching Literature in the Secondary School
  • Teaching Writing in the Secondary School
  • Teaching Argumentative Writing
  • Research and Theory in Written Composition
  • Sociocultural Studies of Teaching and Teacher Education


  • Outstanding Faculty Research Award, College of Education and Human Ecology, 2014.
  • Battelle Endowment Award for the Project: "Composing in a New Key: How Multimodality Shapes Teaching and Learning," 2005-2006.
  • National Council of Teachers of English Research Foundation Grant, 1993.
  • National Council of Teachers of English Promising Research Award, 1984.

Selected Publications

  • Newell, G.E., VanDerHeide, J. & Wynhoff Olsen, A. (2014) High school English language arts teachers’ argumentative epistemologies for teaching writing. Research in the Teaching of English.
  • VanDerHeide, J. & Newell, G.E. (2013). Instructional chains as a method for examining the teaching and learning of argumentative writing in classrooms. Written Communication. 30(3), 300– 329.
  • Newell, G.E, Beach R., Smith, J. & Vanderheide, J. (2011) Teaching and Learning Argumentative Reading and Writing: A Review of Research. Reading Research Quarterly. 46(3), 273–304.
  • Newell, G.E. & Connors, S. (2011). " 'Why do you think that?' A supervisor's mediation of a preservice teacher's understanding of instructional scaffolding. English Education. 43( 3), 225-261.
  • Newell, G.E., Koukis, S. & Boster, S.  (2006). Best practices in writing to learn. In Best Practices in Writing Instruction. In MacArthur, C.A. Graham, S., & Fitzgerald, J. (eds.) Guilford Publications
  • Newell, G.E. (2005). Writing to learn: How alternative theories of school writing account for student performance. In MacArthur, C.A. Graham, S., & Fitzgerald, J. (eds.) Handbook of Writing Research. Guilford Publications.
  • Newell, G.E., Gingrich, R., & Beumer Johnson, A. (2001). Considering the contexts for appropriating theoretical and practical tools for teaching middle and secondary English. Research in the Teaching of English. 35, 302-343.
  • Newell, G. E. (1998). How much are we the wiser? Continuity and change in writing and learning in the content areas. In Calfee, R. & Spivey, N. (Eds.). Reading and Writing: The Contextual Connection. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.