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Real World Life Skills Teachers Group

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Ethan Cooper
Ethan Cooper

Teaching Basic Writing Skills Hochman Pdf 32 !NEW!

TWR is as much a method of teaching content as it is a method of teaching writing. There's no separate writing block and no separate writing curriculum. Instead, teachers of all subjects adapt the TWR strategies and activities to their current curriculum and weave them into their content instruction.

teaching basic writing skills hochman pdf 32

Why do more boys struggle with literacy as they transition into secondary school? For most Australian students, Year 7 is when many (most?) will move physically from their primary school campus to a secondary school campus. This physical transition has been shown to impact student reading achievement, particularly for boys (Hopwood et al., 2017). For some students, their reading achievement stalls in this transition, or in serious cases, declines to levels below that of their primary school years (Hanewald, 2013). Some students entering secondary school have failed to acquire the necessary and basic reading skills in primary school required for secondary school learning (Lonsdale & McCurry, 2004) stifling their future reading development (Culican, 2005). The secondary school curriculum is more demanding and students are expected to be independent readers, able to decode and comprehend a range of complex texts (Duke et al., 2011; Hay, 2014). As argued by Heller and Greenleaf (2007), schools cannot settle for a modest level of reading instruction, given the importance of reading for education, work, and civic engagement. We need to know more about why this stage of schooling is difficult for many boys and how they can be better supported.

In 2017, Judith Hochman and Natalie Wexler published The Writing Revolution (TWR): a book outlining a new way of thinking about and teaching writing. A key feature that sets TWR apart from other approaches is its suggestion that school students should only focus on sentence-level writing until this is mastered (i.e., the purposes and structures of written genres should only be added after a lot of work on sentences).

Teachers at partner schools reportedly found the TWR training useful for their teaching and got the most value from the online TWR resource library. School leaders liked being able to reach out to the TWR team for support if necessary. Some teachers wanted more independence from the strict sequence and focus of TWR activities. Most though found the approach had helped them to teach writing more effectively.

It also suggests that careful attention should be paid to the specific TWR strategies that dominate classroom instruction if students are to get the most out of it. If you are using the TWR approach, my advice would be not to spend a disproportionate amount of time on basic sentence work from the middle primary years, since well-supported approaches like SRSD and genre pedagogy have shown students can (and should?) be writing simple texts that serve different purposes from a young age.

As you might expect, this meant children from middle-class families, whose home literacy practices were similar to those valued at school, could expand on these practices over time to create a variety of written genres and get through school without too many issues. On the other hand, children with less exposure to these valued literate practices at home were stuck writing the same basic texts at school, usually observations and recounts (Rose, 2009). Many of these children went to school in lower socioeconomic areas. Unfortunately for them, the writing demands of secondary school and university require much more than basic observation and recount writing, so these children were unlikely to experience much success at school or to engage in higher education (whether they wanted to or not).

In the same way that science of reading and systematic synthetic phonics advocates have spent decades pushing back against whole language on the reading side of the literacy coin, Australian educational linguists have promoted an explicit approach to teaching writing since the 1980s known as genre-based pedagogy.

Back then, Australian educational linguists including Jim Martin, Joan Rothery, and Mary Macken-Horarik used a model of language known as systemic functional linguistics (SFL) to investigate the types of writing done in schools. They discovered that primary school children were only writing a few basic genres and that teachers referred to most written texts as stories (even when these texts were written for different purposes and had many different features) (Martin & Rose, 2008).

For the first time, Australian teachers were able to name a wide variety of written genres linked to different social purposes (for example, procedures are written to instruct readers on how to perform a task), as well as the typical stages the genres include (e.g., procedures typically start with an aim, followed by a list of equipment, and a series of steps for readers to follow). Such ideas are commonplace in Australian schools now, but in the 1980s and 1990s, this revolutionised the teaching of writing.

Importantly, most popular ways of teaching writing take ideas from more than one of these perspectives. I have argued, for example, that SRSD and TWR are both sociocognitive, in that they combine ideas from the sociocultural and the cognitive to emphasise cognitive processes AND the writing of different genres that serve many social purposes. What these approaches are missing is a focus on the linguistic features of texts (beyond the select grammatical resources promoted for sentence-level writing).

While teaching students to make more informed, intentional language choices when writing should sound appealing to any teacher, this requires teachers to have strong personal metalinguistic understandings of linguistic and structural features of whatever genre they wish to teach. As Matruglio (2019) explained, the very large and detailed architecture of language that underpins genre-based pedagogy (SFL) is both a benefit and a problem, since this impacts how accessible the approach is to teachers and students. Many teachers who are expected by curriculum documents like the Australian Curriculum: English to teach genre-based pedagogy have struggled to do so because they themselves never learnt about the many grammatical forms and functions in their own schooling or teacher training.

Teaching grammar for sentence-level writing is advocated most strongly by researchers in the United States (US) (e.g., Graham et al., 2018). From this view, select grammar resources are seen as the building blocks of sentences, while sentences are seen as the building blocks of texts. Advocates argue that teaching and learning grammar for sentence-level writing in the early and middle primary school years prepares students for the writing demands of upper primary, secondary, and tertiary contexts. Importantly, this view suggests that spending a lot of time understanding all the grammatical forms and functions of words and word groups is unnecessary. But an emphasis on teaching and learning certain grammatical features is still important.

From a sociocognitive perspective, teaching children about basic grammar ideas helps them write grammatically accurate sentences with fluency, freeing up cognitive resources for other aspects of writing (Smith et al., 2021). Along with key lower-order skills (e.g., spelling, handwriting, keyboarding), this perspective views strong sentence-level writing as a necessary precursor of more complex, higher-order skills such as achieving a strong personal voice in writing and meeting specific communicative purposes for different audiences (Kubina & Yurich, 2012).

In a nutshell, SRSD involves teaching students cognitive strategies to help them engage in a set of writing processes (e.g., planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing) (Harris & Graham, 1996). Unlike process writing approaches, the strategies in SRSD differ by the genre being written (i.e., there are specific strategies that help students write narratives, arguments, descriptions, and so on). As the name implies, SRSD also teaches students self-regulation processes, such as setting writing goals, monitoring writing progress, and reflecting on their writing performances (Collins et al., 2021). This takes the focus of SRSD beyond the written text and the processes used to write it; SRSD also considers important elements such as the writing environment and student motivation for writing. This makes SRSD quite unique. Writing is a multicomponent literate practice, and SRSD has been designed with this in mind to address the important parts.

While these six stages involve several elements not included in other explicit teaching approaches, at its heart, SRSD does follow the typical I do, we do, you do structure, moving from explicit teacher modelling to independent student writing. SRSD differs from other approaches, though, in its unique combined focus on genre-specific strategies, mnemonics, and self-regulation processes.

According to world experts in SRSD, Steve Graham and colleagues (2018), teaching about the features of sentences should start in kindergarten, particularly punctuation and capital letters. In the early primary years, students should be taught about breaking down oral language ideas and descriptions into writing as a series of simple sentences. Once students have mastered simple sentence writing, they should be taught about compound and complex sentences through sentence combining strategies. All of this involves a crucial but limited explicit focus on grammar.

Offering more specificity, Smith and colleagues (2021) argued that teachers following the SRSD approach may begin by teaching basic definitions of subjects (i.e., nouns) and verbs, then teach the idea of subject-verb agreement in sentences, then help students convert sentence fragments into simple sentences, and finally help them to develop their simple sentences into longer, more complex sentences (e.g., compound and complex).

Andrews, R., Torgerson, C., Beverton, S., Freeman, A., Locke, T., Low, G., Robinson, A., & Zhu, D. (2006). The effect of grammar teaching on writing development. British Educational Research Journal, 32(1), 39-55. 350c69d7ab


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