7 evidence-based ways to improve your teaching of writing
- Increase the amount of time children spend writing in the classroom and emphasise the processes of writing.
- Create a supportive writing environment in your classroom and show enthusiasm and positive feedback for writing. Create clear goals and have high expectations. Scaffold learning, model ideal texts and make time for both teacher support and pupil independence.
- Develop your pupils’ skills, strategies and knowledge. Emphasise creativity and things like imagery. Teach planning for writing, revising and editing.
- Teach your pupils about self-regulation. Encourage them to reflect on how well they are using writing strategies. You need to teach composition and transcription elements but children also need encouragement to reflect on how well they are being used.
- Use ‘assessment for learning’ techniques and feed this back into your teaching. Encourage children to self-evaluate and peer-evaluate.
- Dedicate time to teaching keyboard use as well as handwriting and use word-processing software for first drafts, not just to improve presentation.
- Teach writing across your curriculum and explore the structural aspects of writing for different purposes.
This echoes NWP findings and seems like a manifesto for meaningful and reflective writing. It situates children as authors of their own learning, and values their reactions to the world. I reported on Dominic's recent book - How Writing Works - and his research into Ministry of Stories in a previous blog 'Pirates, monsters and special agents'.
Only today, I heard of another local Primary school where writing journals are firmly established and the pupils love the opportunity to write and think and talk. The difference it makes to motivation, learning, mental health and well-being is immense.
If anyone wants further proof and support, let me encourage you to join the NWP writing teachers' residential at High Leigh, Hertfordshire, at the start of next half-term: 21-23 October. It's unbeatable CPD, of course, comfortable and quiet, with good food. It'll be good fun, good value and very good therapy - which all teachers will need by the end of this week!
NWP outreach director