Teachers as writers: a systematic review

Cremin, Teresa and Oliver, Lucy (2017). Teachers as writers: a systematic review. Research Papers in Education, 32(3) pp. 269–295.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/02671522.2016.1187664


This paper is a critical literature review of empirical work from 1990-2015 on teachers as writers. It interrogates the evidence on teachers’ attitudes to writing, their sense of themselves as writers and the potential impact of teacher writing on pedagogy or student outcomes in writing. The methodology was carried out in four stages. Firstly, educational databases keyword searches located 438 papers. Secondly, initial screening identified 159 for further scrutiny, 43 of which were found to specifically address teachers’ writing identities and practices. Thirdly, these sources were screened further using inclusion/exclusion criteria. Fourthly, the 22 papers judged to satisfy the criteria were subject to in-depth analysis and synthesis. The findings reveal that the evidence base in relation to teachers as writers is not strong, particularly with regard to the impact of teachers’ writing on student outcomes. The review indicates that teachers have narrow conceptions of what counts as writing and being a writer and that multiple tensions exist, relating to low self-confidence, negative writing histories, and the challenge of composing and enacting teacher and writer positions in school. However, initial training and professional development programmes do appear to afford opportunities for reformulation of attitudes and sense of self as writer.

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