Where are we now in our approaches to the teaching of writing?

Chamberlain, Liz (2010). Where are we now in our approaches to the teaching of writing? In: UKLA 46th International Conference. The Changing Face of Literacy: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, 9-11 Jul 2010, Winchester.


This paper will offer a historical perspective by outlining the generally accepted approaches to the teaching of writing over recent decades: genre theory, skills-based teaching and the process approach, and will pose the question, where are we now in our view of the teaching of writing? Current initiatives such as Teachers as Writers, Everybody Writes and Every Child a Writer, all promote the practices that Ofsted commend as outstanding through their use of varied approaches and imaginative activities (Ofsted, 2009). However, writing standards in the UK continue to cause concern (DCSF, 2009) and, in the light of the anticipated new national curriculum and recent research, this paper explores on what primary teachers base their planning for writing activities.

In this paper, I present preliminary insights from data collected in Australian and UK primary phase schools. What are the similarities and differences and what can teachers facing similar challenges in different cultural and educational contexts learn from each other’s approaches? Consideration will also be given to teachers’ subject knowledge and pedagogy and will consider the implications of change for both policy and practice. The following questions will be raised, offering participants the opportunity to share their thinking, following the presentation of research:

• What is the current pedagogy behind the teaching of writing?
• How do we progress from our current position?
• What kinds of writing do we want children to engage with and what is this based on?

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