Writing as a process
Emphasis on writing has changed from that of a finished product to that of the process of creating a written product. While there is some variation in this process most agree to stages such as: drafting, revising, editing, proofing, and publishing.
Nancie Atwell's writers’ workshop is a popular means to facilitate children’s writing through the stages of the writing process.
Other emphasises of writing supported by research are:
- Emphasis of learning - writing can cause knowledge to become organized and coherent. It can reinforce and extend learning. Writing to learn.
- Emphasis on reading - reading writing connection used to be viewed as opposite processes, but are now recognized as complementary activities.
- Emphasis on word processing - It is no longer a question of should this software be used, but how.
Variables of writing
- Time needed to write and time for teachers to assess
- Attitude needed to engage and energy to engage at a significant level
- Use of assessment rubrics raise many questions arise. There is always a level of subjectivity, how much and what level of grammar, mechanics, and content should be be evaluated and based on what standard?
- What discouraging effects does criticism have on students?
- How will electronic writing software support the writing process?
- Does the use of spelling and grammar checkers change the need for intensive instruction in these areas?
- As time using them increases will it will increase student proficiencies without direct instruction?
- Will the use of internet and electronic information for research and easy access effect learning?
- Will varying amounts of information available for paraphrasing to copying and pasting effect learning?
Research on Writing Instruction
- 1874 was the first time composition was a university course (Harvard)
English as a discipline in public schools began in 1958.
- Before 1962 emphasis was on the product, the analysis of the discourse, and preoccupation with the essay form and term paper.
- Birth of process of writing approach occurred in 1971 with Janet Emig’s dissertation, The Composing Process of Twelfth Graders.
Donald Murray wrote a book in 1968 A Writer Teaches Writing - in it seven skills - discovers a subject, senses an audience, searches for specifics, creates a design, writes, develops a critical eye, and rewrites (pp. 2-12) in a recursive process - repeating and fed back into each other. Writing is about student choice to write to clarify and understand their own thinking. Multiple drafts, portfolios borrowed from artists...
Highly interactive drama, writing for different audiences, peer review, editing and adaption over formal writing assignments.
Students responding to literature through a process approach actually caused rioting in Kanawha County, West Virginia.
Students choose their own content, they become part of a community of writers, they write to explore, they have something to say to us and each other, and they publish what they write. Standard Five IRA/NCTE Standards for the English Language Arts (1969).
Students become frustrated by what they can’t produce.
The Bay Area Writing Project became the site for the National Writing Project.
Trends in writing
Writing assessment big issues are - reliability and validity - what is the difference between 2-3 or 3-4. This is no trivial thing as differences of one level can mean the difference between a remedial label or not.
Technology and writing
- Digital texts can take the form of familiar text or be profoundly different to include multimodal with visual, auditory, and other non-verbal elements of hypermedia.
- Standardized testing is having a reductionist effect on the teaching of writing with programs such as 6+1 Writing Traits and America’s Choice Writer’s Advantage. Both encourage formulaic writing at the expense of critical thinking and creativity.
- With technology and writing we must no longer consider ourselves literate; rather we must assume a continued need to - become literate.
- Research suggests computers have a positive impact on student writing. They tend to write longer compositions, add more to their writing, and revise more. Technology makes it easier to compose and revise, identify problems with text, share tests, and become better writers and readers. Student collaboration occurs more frequently with compositions being accessible to read on computer screens. There is more variety and complexity of language used with creative writing projects on the computer. Spell checkers and grammar checkers give more feedback quicker allowing teachers to support the writer’s idea development, clarity, and style.
- Teacher’s role should continue to increase in guiding students within information environments that are far beyond traditional print media. Integrated lesson using technology to enhance writing tha connect in school writing to out school literacies. Changes in idea of authorship.
- Education for an Information age: Teaching in the Computerized Classroom -
IM instant messaging