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Back to the drawing board when it comes to writing

| September 4, 2017 | 0 Comments

No matter how digital school becomes, writing is still a fundamental part of demonstrating learning and communication knowledge. Australian education authorities have announced a decline in quality since 2011 of secondary school students’ (grades 7 and 9) writing.

Researchers have been inclined to emphasise reading more than writing. But research now shows that effective writing means that students must have attained lower-order skills, such as handwriting and spelling, and of higher-order skills, such as planning and revising. Handwriting automaticity (often called fluency) and written composition mean the ability to write quickly and effortlessly. This fluency should allow children to focus on translating ideas into writing, thinking about what they want to say about the topic at hand. Research into writing is being conducted across the globe. In the US, surveys indicate that little time is devoted to writing instruction.

UK researchers have learned that explicit handwriting instruction is not a daily practice, and that teachers may not know how to teach children to write a coherent, well-planned essay. A new study undertaken in Australia examined 177 children from seven schools. Researchers measured students’ ability to access and retrieve information and write certain documents automatically and accurately. The study also assessed teachers’ practices for writing instruction and the time allocated to teach specific writing skills.

The study’s results indicated that students’ writing abilities are the responsibility of the teacher. In some of the surveyed schools, teaching writing happened erratically, if at all. It suggests children may be spending less than the recommended 30-45 minutes of daily writing practice in preprimary schools. In middle and high school, students will already demonstrate a deficit when it comes to writing and will probably not experience specific assistance in this area.

Category: Spring 2017

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