The headline from this year’s National Literacy Trust’s survey into young people’s attitudes towards writing is unsurprising but increasingly concerning.
For a number of years now we have used the trust’s annual survey, which focuses on responses from over 40,000 apprentice writers, to make the case for a Writing For Pleasure pedagogy.
Throughout these years, we have seen that young people have either an indifference or a dislike for writing but this year it has climbed to over 50%. We also have 40% of children who only ever write when they have to. This is quite staggering.
Obviously, the only way you can stop apprentice writers from learning to write and liking it (in this densely verbal and social culture in which we live) is to teach it the way we currently teach it. Imagine for a moment that these statistics were related to talk and that 50% of young people were indifferent about talking and sharing their thoughts and expertise with their teacher and/or peers. This would be cause for a national crisis surely? You would also have to question how children are being put off so dramatically to do what comes quite naturally.
Daily writing levels have been falling since the survey first began and this year they have reached their lowest ever with less than 20% of apprentice writers writing anything that wasn’t directly for school purposes.
- Again, despite our densely verbal and social culture, over half of apprentice writers are lead to believe that they find it hard to decide what to write.
- 1/5 young people believe writing to be a difficult task.
- Only around 40% of apprentice writers believe writing to be a fun activity.
- Attitudes towards writing have been in decline ever since the release of the new National Curriculum in 2014.
Are pedagogies which are simply ‘schooling’ children and not based on effective practice having an adverse effect on children’s attitudes and educational outcomes?
In response, and working with the National Literacy Trust, we have produced a number of resources to help you build a Writing For Pleasure pedagogy. These can be downloaded from their website here: National Literacy Trust: Writing For Pleasure Resources
Writing For Pleasure is based on 14 research-informed principles which not only cover the very best effective practices but also happen to be the most affective ones too!
You can read our Writing For Pleasure manifesto here: Writing For Pleasure Manifesto
You can also download and read their full report here: Full Report
We invite comments below. Let’s start a conversation.
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**By Phil Ferguson**