Researching education: Five further readings on teaching writing

Welcome to this month's edition of Researching education: Five further readings. In this series, we take a look at some further readings available on a particular topic, including open access research papers from various online databases, and Teacher archive content you might not have come across yet.

What are the future directions of teaching writing? Do students write differently when supported by ICT? And, how often do teachers teach writing? In today’s article, we’re sharing five resources on teaching writing that seek to answer these questions and more.

  1. Use of information and communications technology (ICT) in the teaching and learning of writing. This research project from 2018 set out to ascertain the impact of digital technology on teaching and learning writing in the primary school context, and involved case studies looking at the learning of students in Years 4 to 6 in 10 schools. This paper covers what the literature says about effective pedagogy for the teaching of writing supported by ICT, whether the participating primary students write differently when supported by ICT, and what the impact of new technologies on students’ planning, text composition and editing strategies is.
  2. Changing How Writing is Taught. Here, Steve Graham from Arizona State University says ‘if students are to be successful in school, at work, and in their personal lives, they must learn to write. This requires that they receive adequate practice and instruction in writing, as this complex skill does not develop naturally.’ The paper summarises how writing is taught, developing a vision for treating writing, the role of stakeholders, and future directions for the teaching of writing.
  3. What is it Writing For Pleasure teachers do that makes the difference? In this paper, details are shared of a one year research project from the United Kingdom which looked at principles employed by the most effective teachers of writing. The researchers identified and described the elements of writing teaching which appear to constitute a Writing For Pleasure pedagogy. ‘It was a requirement that the practices of the teachers participating in the research be based on what studies tell us are the most effective writing teaching, associated with high levels of pupil motivation, self-efficacy, agency, self-regulation, volition, writer identity and pleasure in writing. Teachers were also required to provide evidence of exceptional or above expected academic progress among their pupils,’ the paper reads.
  4. Writing needs to be taught and practised. Australian schools are dropping the focus too early. In this article from The Conversation, Claire Wyatt-Smith and Christine Jennifer Jackson from the Australian Catholic University share the results of their survey of over 4000 primary and secondary school teachers in New South Wales. In the article they discuss what their survey findings show about how often teachers teach writing, how teachers are teaching writing, and why writing must be practised constantly.
  5. The writing workshop. The writing workshop sits within the Victorian Department of Education’s Literacy Teaching Toolkit. The Department say the workshop’s principles ‘draw heavily on the work of Donald Graves, motivated by an emphasis on “writing as a process”, and where individual interest and choice are fundamental to students becoming independent writers.’ On this page, you can explore the workshop sessions and details.

Some of the resources featured in this article can be found through Cunningham Library Catalogue and EdResearch Online. At the links below, you can search for more resources on the topic of teaching writing in these two online databases. You can also browse other topics at this page.

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