Richard Gebhardt, 1990
Richard Gebhardt: Introspection and observation for insight and instruction in the process of writing, 1990
This reading is useful for moving beyond the two 'opposite' paradigms for the teaching of writing (eg 1. linear instructional 2. recursive, reflective). Gebhardt believes that teachers need to be critically aware of research. But they need to question and validate it by their own observations of their own pupils. By such means they can reclaim greater professional agency which is what Richard Andrews argues for explicitly in Getting Going (2008), and what Philip Jarrett (HMI) supports implicitly in English at the Crossroads (2009).
Gebhardt uses reflection and observation of his pupils' behaviours as writers, and his own behaviour as a writer, to resolve apparent contradictions in research. Some research advocates recursive and some research advocates linear writing practices; Gebhardt moves towards a comprehensive theory that understands the appropriacy of both - for different writers, at different times, handling different genres. He devised questions to guide observers of writing. These questions focus on what writers do physically (shuffling, muttering, reading), how they develop their text (listing, writing, editing) and what signs of their mental behaviour they display (glancing, perusing, pausing). Further, he analyses the proportion of time spent on different behaviours and their sequence.
His conclusions are that
* different people write differently
* some leap straight in, others procrastinate
* some are helped by quick backward glances, others by longer re-reading
* some refer to notes, plans and other sources
* similar observation foci and reflections help children to gain insights into the writing process and more confidence in their own style and choices.
See NWP observation prompts