Explicitly Teaching The Writing Processes And Writing For Pleasure
This week’s #WritingRocks was about explicitly teaching the writing processes to children with a view to them creating and then using their own personalised process independently. This is because research has, for a long time, advocated for such an approach when teaching apprentice writers:
- The first thing to state is that Writing For Pleasure teachers are likely to know that there isn’t really a single agreed upon writing process.
- With this said, Writing For Pleasure teachers will also know that many children are unaware of typical processes involved in writing and they may not, at first, be able to control all aspects of the writing process at once. As a result, Writing For Pleasure teachers will likely teach children how to prioritise writing processes. This strategy can be modelled and involves showing children that when producing a piece of writing not all writing processes have to applied at the same time and in fact this can be too demanding (Locke, 2015, p.162)! Instead focus on one process at a time. For example, when drafting, children can focus on the composition of their manuscript and proof-read and edit it at another time.
- Writing For Pleasure teachers will therefore teach the writing processes and the vocabulary surrounding them (generating ideas, planning, drafting, revising, editing, publishing, sharing and performing) explicitly with a view to increasing children’s flexibly and independent use of them. Particular focus will be given to the recursive nature of these processes too (see below):
Any writing classroom that fails to eventually recognise and promote the recursive nature of these processes and instead looks for children to undertake these processes in order and without socialising with other writers and on demand will ultimately run into difficulties.
- Writing For Pleasure teachers will ensure that their writing environment, direct instruction, resources and displays are always looking to promote self-regulation, self-efficacy and a development and personalisation of these writing processes.
- Direct instruction will involve children seeing writer-teachers using a range of practices (including: modelling, coaching, giving expert information and guidance, questioning, and explaining) with the goal being to lead children towards constructing high-quality texts.
- Once experienced enough and as their repertoire of writing skills enlarges, children will automatically re-read and improve their work as they compose – in a recursive way. They may change their plans as they compose, they might revise as they draft and perhaps they undertake editing on a sentence they’ve just written automatically and unconsciously. Additionally, children will learn to be discerning about their writing and whether a project is worth perusing through to publication or not.
- A number of studies have recognised the benefits of a process-oriented approach to writing instruction. The writing process approach, with its links to the writing-workshop movement (Graves, 1983; Calkins 1998; Atwell, 2014), focuses on writers and how to do the things that writers really do – just in a classroom. The process writing approach is best defined as being the marriage between the best of ‘writers’ workshop’ with direct instruction and the concept of ‘self-regulating strategy development‘.
- Process writing ensures children engage in phases of idea generation, planning, drafting, revising, editing, and importantly, publishing, sharing and performing. Publishing will be a particular focus because of its connection with feeling a sense of satisfaction from producing a final written product.
Obvious Links To Other Writing For Pleasure Manifesto Principles:
The explicit teaching of the writing processes promotes Writing For Pleasure in a number of ways:
- It promotes the idea of self-efficacy because it helps apprentice writers to picture themselves realising their writing intentions.
- It promotes a feeling of agency. Once experienced enough with the different processes and what they involve, children can control their own writing process.
- It can increase children’s motivation. They can see where their writing is leading to and they will be better able to set themselves specific writing-process goals which they will know how to achieve.
- It massively supports children’s self-regulation. Over time, apprentice writers will certainly gain a feeling of independence from external intervention and scaffolding.
- It will increase their writer-identity. Developing writing processes alongside a feeling of belonging and having an affinity with writing, allows children to feel part of a community where they can talk, craft and undertake the behaviours of a writer in a feeling of safety and understanding.
As an approach, it also reflects other principles outlined in our Writing For Pleasure manifesto including:
- Purposeful and authentic writing projects because these sorts of projects allow children to negotiate all the different writing processes over time.
- Reading, sharing and talking about writing because children can begin talking about their own writerly behaviours and their ‘ways of writing’.
- Building self-regulation because it encourages teachers to provide resources and scaffolds which help children negotiate the writing processes and ultimately shows apprentice writers how they can take an idea through to publishing largely on their own.
- Personal writing projects allow children time and space to develop their own processes for writing, about things they are motivated to write about and largely at their own pace.
- Setting writing goals allows children to feel a sense of achievement by completing specific process milestones towards the distant goal of publishing a writing product.
- Balancing composition and transcription because it ensures you are teaching children how to compose with automaticity which frees them up to think about and attend to transcriptional issues.
- Being a writer teacher because a writer-teacher will have a better understanding of how the writing processes work and how they deal with them themselves.
- Pupil conferences because, as a writer-teacher, you’ll be better able to share feedback and advice about the writing processes from a position of expertise and understanding.
- Literacy for pleasure: reading and writing coming together because when apprentice writers are afforded the opportunity to write authentically, through the writing processes, they begin to exhibit sophisticated reading behaviours. Being afforded such opportunities to write results in high levels of pleasure in reading, with children often seeking out texts that are likely to serve and support their needs as writers and lead them to better understanding these texts as a result.
If you found this article interesting, you should also read:
- Teaching Writing: Research Summaries With Easy Access
- Meeting Children Where They Are: Using Pupil Conferencing
- How We Created Self-Regulating Writers And The Improvements We Have Seen
- Is The Trick In The Publishing? Reflecting On Why The Children Are Writing With Such Care & Attention.
- Planning Authentic & Purposeful Writing Projects
- Building A Writing Community: Children Reading, Sharing And Talking About Writing
- What Teacher Do To Make Every Child Feel Like A Writer
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