Nurturing a writing culture in our classrooms and schools

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At the recent ETA Annual Conference titled Curiouser and Curiouser, Michael Murray delivered an inspiring presentation which contained many ideas and strategies that are easily transferred into classrooms. Another point of interest, particularly relevant to my future study tour were the aspects of ‘teachers as writers’.

After posing the question ‘What is the value of writing in an age of digital communication?’, we considered trends and implications of writing for print and writing for the web. Murray also took us through the disturbing downward drift in writing results using NAPLAN data, before suggesting features of effective writing instruction:

  • opportunities for students to write
  • panned and explicit instruction of processes, strategies and skills
  • engagement and motivation, especially through authentic purpose
  • rich and supportive writing environment
  • metacognition and self regulation
  • embedded formative assessment
  • build on prior learning
  • teacher positioned as a writer in the classroom

Murray also suggested the roles that teachers can demonstrate and incorporate within their classroom repertoire to support writing:

  • engaged and reflective reader
  • authentic demonstration of writing
  • scribe for class compositions
  • fellow writer – write alongside students
  • response partner
  • editor, co-editor and adviser
  • publisher
  • writer in everyday lessons

Assessment tasks should be:

  • embedded in learning
  • fully explained
  • criteria for assessing also fully explained
  • supply models and processes
  • class time to complete
  • do the task yourself!

*image from Capital Letters – blog of the ACT Writers Centre

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