Treat every child as a writer

We defined ourselves as a class of writers. I relished our classroom culture and told anyone who would listen. -Leung & Hicks

Description of the principle

In the writing workshop, effective writing teachers hold high achievement expectations for all writers. They see all children as writers and, from the first, teach strategies that lead to greater independence and ensure all children remain part of the writing community. They make the purposes and audiences for writing clear to children for both their class and personal writing projects. They teach what writing can do. They also model and promote the social aspects of writing and peer support in their classrooms.

What Writing For Pleasure teachers do

  • These teachers hold high achievement expectations for all their writers.
  • All children feel like independent writers who are achieving their writing goals with regularity. They are praised for the goals they achieve.
  • They ensure that all their writers remain part of the writing community.

Reviewing your practice: questions to consider

  • Do you articulate that every child can write authentically, that all children belong in the community, all children can achieve and that all members have something worthwhile to say?
  • Are you unlikely to confine less experienced writers to decontextualized writing exercises or tasks but rather support these writers through group teaching or by allowing them to work collaboratively with a peer?
  • Do you have high expectation for both class and personal writing projects?
  • Do you have high expectations for student attainment during their lesson(s)?
  • Do you have a good understanding of the learning needs of all children?
  • Do you support children’s efforts and writing through your manner, comments and actions?

Examples from the classroom

I’m A Writer Too!

Supporting document

Suggested further reading

  • Cornelius-White, J., (2007) Learner-Centered Teacher-Student Relationships Are Effective: A Meta-Analysis In Review of Educational Research, Vol. 77, No. 1, pp. 113–143
  • Good, T. L., & Brophy, J. (1997). Looking in classrooms. New York, NY: Longman.
  • Harris, M. J., & Rosenthal, R. (1985). Mediation of interpersonal expectancy effects: 31 meta-analyses In Psychological Bulletin, 97, 363–386
  • Leung, C., Hicks, J., (2014) Writer Identity and Writing Workshop A Future Teacher and Teacher Educator Critically Reflect In Writing & Pedagogy 1756–5839
  • Parr, J., Limbrick, L., (2010) Contextualising practice: Hallmarks of effective teachers of writing In Teaching and Teacher Education (26) 583–590
  • Reutzel, D. R. (2007). Organizing effective literacy instruction: Differentiating instruction to meet the needs of all children. In L. B. Gambrell, L. M. Morrow, & M. Pressley (Eds.), Best practices in literacy instruction (pp. 313–434). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
  • Rubie-Davies, C. M. (2010). Teacher expectations and perceptions of student attributes: Is there a relationship? British Journal of Educational Psychology, 80(1), 121–135.
  • Satchwell, C., (2019) Collaborative writing with young people with disabilities: raising new questions of authorship and agency In Literacy Vol.53(2) pp.77-85
  • Wenger, E. (1998) Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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