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Prioritising Writing Progress

Do our pupils want assist for bolster their writing growth?

In my final weblog, I posed the query about whether or not there was a hidden downside with the injury wrought by the pandemic on pupils who’ve joined secondary college. The proof of a dip in nationwide date at each Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 1 is apparent.

The options to such nationwide and college stage challenges are much less apparent. Writing has typically been described because the ‘uncared for R’ in comparison with studying and ‘rithmetic (maths). Faculties can spend money on programmes and interventions, however constant top quality instructing goes to be important for the best variety of pupils.

In growing ‘Closing the Writing Hole’, surveying analysis proof and my engagement with colleges indicated that the next 9 priorities have been mostly being tackled in colleges:

  1. Bettering pupils’ handwriting fluency. Too typically, handwriting is written off – notably for older pupils. And but, automated, fluent handwriting is crucial to make sure that pupils can focus their psychological effort on extra increased order processes. Utilizing useful diagnostics, such because the ‘Handwriting Legibility Scale’ may also help determine struggling pupils. Programmes could be deployed and academics could be upskilled to make this a manageable precedence (the Nationwide Handwriting Affiliation provides useful assets to steer follow – HERE).
  2. Safe spelling accuracy. Spelling is commonly a spotlight in major college, however goes onto be an afterthought in secondary college. The analysis on spelling instruction signifies that sustained specific instructing is required. ‘Look cowl write verify’ and the yr 5 spelling listing are unlikely to be sufficient. We are able to concentrate on homophones, approaching morphology and focused vocabulary instruction, for a richer answer. In secondary colleges, there must be a sustained concentrate on a small variety of manageable methods, wedded to vocabulary instructing, modifying writing, and different practices.
  3. Concentrate on the craft of sentence composition. The chess sport of writing has numerous strikes and so it will probably overwhelm our novice writers. Specializing in sentence stage approaches is a significant and manageable strategy to assist specific instruction. There are 4 frequent approaches which might be greatest bets: sentence combining, shrinking, increasing and signposting. These variations could be utilized and used for youthful pupils and to start out topic particular approaches. As an illustration, The Writing Revolution sentence signposts ‘As a result of, However, So’ has confirmed in style for science. And but, we have to see past one-off sentence tips and see crafting sentences as a strategy to improve how pupils suppose.
  4. Refine the instructing and studying of grammar. Grammar typically evokes worry or indifference. Does recognizing verb phrases enhance writing. Effectively, the grammar, punctuation and spelling evaluation in yr 6 in all probability doesn’t result in higher writing, however we will apply grammar to writing efficiently. To shut the ‘grammar hole’ of instructor data, we have to construct everybody’s confidence and translate it into writing strikes. ‘Grammar for writing’ can immediately result in writing enchancment.
  5. Improve pupils’ capability to edit & revise their writing. ‘Modifying’ and ‘revising’ writing is especially difficult for novice pupils. First, they should know the distinction. Modifying is the secretarial correction of errors, however revision is making high quality variations to satisfy the wants of the viewers (even when that’s the instructor). A lot of deliberate follow is required with these practices, shrinking down the problem e.g. can a guidelines for modifying make a distinction, or can pupils be allotted in ‘modifying groups’? In brief, pupils want clear, constant routines (in secondary college, this commonplace for writing additionally must be set throughout each topic within the curriculum).
  6. Set up writing within the topic disciplines. Does writing actually matter in topics like artwork and design? The reply is a convincing sure if pupils are to put in writing to be taught to put in writing effectively throughout the curriculum. In fact, there’s a requirement for ‘disciplinary literacy’ and instructor coaching. As an illustration, from word making, to assist pupils develop balanced arguments in spiritual schooling would require a number of major age follow, assist to construction paragraphs, use sentence signposts, deploy proof and extra. This is not going to occur with out specific instructing. This is not going to occur until academics are supported to grasp approaches for ‘disciplinary writing‘.
  7. Modelling writing within the classroom. Modelling to writing growth is like train and weight loss program to a wholesome physique. Shared writing could be nuanced and difficult, with academics (particularly new academics) missing in confidence in learn how to do it. Whether or not it’s visualiser or whiteboard, an entire college strategy to modelling writing pays dividends. The worth of labored examples is just too highly effective to overlook.
  8. Systematic evaluation of writing. The evaluation of writing can get slowed down in imitating dodgy GCSE mark schemes, or doubtful yr 6 moderation messages. As an alternative, we would determine tight priorities, by specializing in the likes of sentence composition or spelling, or adapting a rubric like WAM, we could be extra focused in diagnosing points and pinpointing priorities. Exhausting interested by writing evaluation may even see a extra various strategy that aping nationwide evaluation rubrics (comparable to exploring ‘comparative judgement‘ and different modern approaches).
  9. Sustained skilled growth on instructing writing. Sustained top quality skilled growth is at all times wanted, however with the complexity of writing growth, it’s merely a pre-requisite. We have to supply academics coaching, time and instruments to resolve the difficulty (while college leaders can meet the mandatory mechanisms for efficient CPD).
Helpful assist assets:

Discover the prioritisation poster and different ‘Closing the Writing Hole’ assets HERE.

Discover ‘Closing the Writing Hole’ on-line: Amazon UKHERE. & RoutledgeHERE. (Use CWG20 for a 20% low cost)

I’m endeavor the favored Teachology ‘Closing the Writing Hole’ masterclasses in June in Manchester and Birmingham (and on-line) – see extra HERE.