With the new Ofsted framework coming out recently, we wanted to look at where Writing For Pleasure fits. If you’re new to the idea of a Writing For Pleasure pedagogy, you can read about it here.
Below is our response to the different aspects of the framework including: intentions, implementation, impact, progression of skills, acquisition of knowledge, tackling social disadvantage, providing cultural capital, honouring the local community, children’s personal development, child engagement, supporting children with SEND, challenging advanced writers, teachers’ subject and pedagogical knowledge.
How children’s knowledge of writing and of being a writer progresses.
- Children become knowledgeable about the different reasons in which writers are moved to write: to teach, persuade or influence, entertain, paint with words, reflect and to make a record. Over time, they become increasingly knowledgeable about the different ways in which these reasons can be realised, including through rich interconnection and subversion.
- Children become increasingly knowledgeable about the variety of ways in which writers can reach and leave an impression on a variety of audiences through writing.
- Children become increasingly knowledgeable about the writing processes writers use and, over time, are given the agency to develop their own preferred writing process so they can write from a position of strength.
- Children become increasingly knowledgeable about strategies and techniques writers use to realise their writing intentions.
- Children become increasingly knowledgeable about how grammar functions within the craft of writing. Through authentic use, children become knowledgeable about grammatical and linguistic terms.
- Children become increasingly knowledgeable about how writers’ use of punctuation and other conventions aids their audience’s ability to read their writing easily and as they intended.
- Children become increasingly knowledgeable about how writers proofread their writing effectively and so correct unsure spellings before a piece of writing goes to publication.
- Children learn typical spelling patterns and how words are constructed. They also become knowledgeable about different techniques for learning spellings.
- Children become more knowledgeable about the importance writers place on word choice and on increasing their vocabulary. This includes seeking synonyms for words when it feels appropriate.
- Children become more knowledgeable about automaticity and legibility in handwriting and its importance in relation to future readers accessing their texts.
- Children become increasingly knowledgeable about the need for a writer’s writing products to be visually stimulating, accurate and of the highest quality.
How our children’s writing skills progress.
- Over time, children learn how to work within, and contribute to, a community of writers.
- Children become increasingly skilful in keeping a writer’s notebook and living the writer’s life at home and at school.
- As their knowledge surrounding the purposes of writing increases, so does their skill in combining, manipulating and subverting them.
- Children become more self-regulating, skilful and adaptable in their use of the different writing processes, including how they plan, draft, revise, edit, publish and perform their writing intentions.
- Children are able to apply more writerly techniques and become skilful in discerning which will be most appropriately applied.
- Children’s ability and skill to proofread, use a dictionary, and use other spell checking devices increases over time. This means fewer errors find their way through to publication.
- Children’s ability to use a thesaurus skilfully increases over time.
- Children’s ability to use a variety of writing materials and word processing technology increases over time.
How we are preparing children for life after school and how we are trying to tackle social disadvantage.
- Children learn about the different ways in which we are moved to write and by developing as writers, they can fully engage with society in a variety of ways.
- They learn how to share their knowledge, opinion, imaginative creativity and artistry. They also learn how to influence and to be persuasive, because you either learn to write your own thoughts or opinions, or else are subjected to someone else’s.
- By developing independent writers we ensure children can discuss, debate, independently research and explore their own ideas, develop their own writing projects and have an independent response, through writing, to material and subjects taught. They are also able to entertain a variety of audiences through stories and personal anecdote.
- Children are keen and utterly able to write in personal response to what they are reading.
- They learn how to ensure their writing is technically accurate before it reaches publication. This ensures their writing makes the best impression and is taken seriously.
- We decrease the risk of school failure which results from a pupil’s inability to share their knowledge and to ‘write to learn’.
- We appreciate that business leaders, the job market and academic disciplines require strong writers and so we develop them.
How our writing teaching reflects and honours our local community.
- Children undertake class writing projects which encourage them to be spirited citizens and to play an active role in the public life of their local community and beyond.
- By learning to write together on a variety of subjects which are important to them, children learn about each other’s thoughts, cultures, values, knowledge and feelings and have a respect for each other’s individual liberty and tolerance of alternative points of view. As developing writers, they also learn about the vast amount they have in common.
- By building class publishing houses and a community of writers within their class each year, children create an inclusive environment which supports the development of unique writing voices.
How learning to be writers gives our children cultural capital.
- We argue that, by teaching children to become life-long independent motivated writers, we are providing them with the most powerful cultural capital you can have – an ability to turn your voice (your thoughts, knowledge, opinions, artistry) into powerful writing.
- By writing within a community of writers, children find that they can learn from others’ cultural capital.
- We teach children how writing can be a powerful tool for understanding new knowledge and how you can reorganise it and have a personal response to it.
How our teaching of writing supports children’s learning of the writing curriculum.
Our teaching of writing supports children’s learning of the writing curriculum because we have carefully considered the research which informed the construction of the writing curriculum (DfE, 2012). For example, we teach children about:
- How to be part of a community of writers.
- The different reasons writers are moved to write.
- The writing processes.
- Setting distant, process and product writing goals.
- Having inquiry skills.
- The importance of writing momentum and practising the craft of writing every day.
- How grammar functions within the craft of writing.
How we ensure children understand what and why they are writing.
We ensure that children know what and why they are writing by:
- Making explicit the purpose and future audience for the class writing project and where their writing will end up.
- Allowing children to choose what they want to write about within the class writing project.
- Teaching them about the reason for the genre of writing being studied through the class writing project.
- Teaching children that writing is a craft which is developed through repeated practice.
How we encourage children to engage in developing as writers.
- By ensuring teachers get to know the children in their class. This is achieved by allowing children to write about their own lives, thoughts, opinions, knowledge and imaginative ideas.
- By focusing on the affective domains of effective practice, namely: self-efficacy, agency, motivation, volition, writer-identity, self-regulation and writing for enjoyment, satisfaction and pleasure.
How does developing as a writer impact positively on children’s personal development?
- We ensure children leave our school with a craft which can help promote positive well being and self-esteem.
- Because children learn to develop their own writing process, they develop a writer-identity. This gives them confidence and knowledge of themselves as writers.
- Because our class writing projects are purposeful, involve a future audience, and children have agency over the subject for their writing, children have motivation for wanting their writing to do well.
- Because children build a community of writers through our writing workshop approach, they learn how to reflect wisely, behave with integrity and cooperate consistently with their fellow writers.
- Because children are encouraged to write in personal response to subjects and to use their knowledge, opinions, thoughts and own imaginings in their writing, they learn how being a writer gives them an ability to reflect and to represent their thoughts and ideas creatively.
- As the children develop as writers, they are given more control over their writing process and setting their own deadlines for completing class writing projects. As a result, children learn how to be responsible for themselves.
- Because children are given ample time in which to pursue their personal writing projects, they are actively encouraged to develop themselves through writing by definition. They learn that writing can be a pleasurable and recreational activity and a life-long pursuit. They are encouraged to bring their writing to and from home and school.
- They learn how writing can show their artistry, ability to see things differently, and about the enjoyment in playing and having fun with words.
How is children’s development as writers connected to other parts of the curriculum?
- Because children become increasingly knowledgeable about the ways in which writers are moved to write, they are able to write in personal response to what they learn in other areas of the curriculum and to share this with other members of the class. This helps them and their peers have a deeper understanding of other parts of the curriculum as a result.
- Children learn some of the discipline-specific genres involved in other parts of the curriculum. For example, writing people’s history, historical recounts and accounts, biography and scientific reports.
How are children with SEND supported in developing as writers?
Children with SEND are supported in the following ways:
- They start with a simplified writing process of planning, drafting and publishing. Publishing is undertaken by an adult helper on the child’s behalf.
- They are encouraged to plan using storytelling, drawing and talk.
- Over time, they are moved towards conventional planning, dabbling, revising and basic editing.
- They regularly write alongside an adult who is also writing.
- They have personal project books and they are encouraged to take these to and from school.
- They set themselves regular personal writing targets. These are then added to their ‘can do’ list.
How are your advanced and highly experienced writers supported?
Advanced writers are supported in the following ways:
- They are encouraged to write and learn from one another.
- They are encouraged to have personal project books and to work on their compositions both at home and at school.
- They have freedom over their writing process.
- They are encouraged to actively hybridise or subversively manipulate class writing projects in new and creative ways.
- They are encouraged to collect words, sentences / poetic moments, themes, try out types of openings and types of endings, metaphors, characters as metaphors, collect / discuss psychological / philosophical ideas as plots / characters / settings for narrative writing.
- Read for pleasure with ‘rigour’.
- To develop their narrative writing beyond the norm and take on advanced writerly techniques.
This is what we believe our teachers need expert subject knowledge in.
Teachers must have expert knowledge in the following:
- The reasons writers are moved to write.
- The typical genres used by writers to realise this need to write.
- That genres are subject to change, are often interconnected and often realise more than one purpose.
- That there is not a single agreed writing process. That the writing processes are recursive and that writers develop their own preferred process over time. Teachers should also be knowledgeable of their own writing process. They should know the many strategies and techniques employed at different stages of the writing process.
- The grammar or linguistic features typical of certain genres of writing. They should be able to expertly identify certain grammatical or linguistic features employed by children in their compositions.
This is our school’s pedagogical knowledge for teaching apprentice writers.
Our pedagogical knowledge is based on extensive scientific research into the most effective writing instruction, case studies of what the best performing teachers of writing do that makes the difference, our own school action research and the wisdom of professional writers. We therefore understand that the effective teaching of writing involves the application of the following principles:
- Creating a community of writers.
- Ensuring every child identifies as a writer.
- Reading, sharing and talking about writing.
- Planning purposeful and authentic class writing projects.
- Explicitly teaching the writing processes
- Setting distant, process and product writing goals
- Reassuring consistency. This involves teaching through the Writing Workshop approach and following a regular routine of mini-lesson, writing time and class sharing.
- Time for personal writing projects.
- Balancing the teaching of composition and transcription.
- Teaching self-regulation strategies.
- Being writer-teachers.
- Giving high-quality feedback through pupil conferencing and through responsive mini-lessons.
- Promoting literacy for pleasure through building reading/writing connections.
This is how teachers check pupil’s understanding and set future writing goals with them.
Teachers check pupil’s understanding and set future writing goals by:
- Ensuring children know what the distant goal for the class writing project is, namely, what the purpose and future audience for the project is.
- Arranging systematic pupil-conferencing in their classrooms and collaboratively setting future writing goals with the children.
- Teaching responsive mini-lessons which reflect what the class needs more instruction in.
- Ensuring that the writing processes are on display and that children are setting themselves process goals during writing time.
- Assessing children’s developing writing portfolios and making decisions about what needs to be taught next.
This is how we ensure key knowledge and skills about being a writer become part of children’s long-term memory.
Because of our commitment to a reassuringly consistent writing approach, children repeatedly practice the craft of writing, are repeatedly moved to write in a variety of common genres, and because these genres are repeated and built upon throughout the years, children begin to place this knowledge into their long-term memory. Children become experts in the writing processes as they move through the school and once experienced enough, are encouraged to develop their own preferred writing process. Because children work through the writing processes repeatedly, and are taught self-regulated writing strategies and techniques, they undertake their writing effectively, efficiently and largely independently.
What the children can show for themselves at the end of their time with us.
- Children will have a wealth of writing both in their writing portfolios and their personal writing notebooks from throughout their years with the school.
- Children will have their own established writing process and routines for undertaking writing.
- They will have strong identities as writers and so should continue writing as a lifelong craft and pursuit.
- They will have artefacts and memories of the impact their writing has had on the local community and beyond.
- It’s also our conviction that our intentions and subsequent implementations will ensure our children achieve very well on national assessments.