Developing a school of extraordinary writers: Interconnecting the principles of world-class writing teaching

We know that, like a field of flowers, the principles of world-class writing teaching benefit greatly from rich cross-pollination.

Description of the principle

Research cannot emphasise strongly enough how the 14 principles of world-class writing teaching are powerfully interconnected. Think, where do you currently see your practice making links between them, and where is more development required?

What Writing For Pleasure teachers do

  • These teachers apply the principles of Writing For Pleasure in rich combination.

Reviewing your practice: questions to consider

  • For the principles of Writing For Pleasure to work most effectively, they must be interconnected as much as possible. Where do you currently see your practice making links between these different principles and where is more development needed?

Supporting resources

  • Our school residency training programme [LINK]
  • Our school INSET training [LINK]
  • The Science Of Teaching Primary Writing [LINK]
  • Effective writing teaching booklet: What the research says [LINK]
  • What is it ‘Writing For Pleasure’ teachers do that makes the difference? Final research report – [LINK]
  • Our Handbook Of Research On Teaching Young Writers [LINK]
  • The 14 principles of world-class writing teaching [LINK]
  • Our Writing Development Scales And Assessment Toolkit [LINK]
  • Our teachers’ auditing tool [LINK]
  • Guidance on teaching writing and the new Ofsted framework [LINK]

Suggested further reading

  • Young R., Ferguson, F., (2022) Response to Ofsted’s research and analysis. Curriculum research review series: English [LINK]
  • Young, R., Ferguson, F., (2022) The Education Endowment Foundation’s Improving Literacy In KS2 Guidance Report: Our Review And Implications For Teaching Writing [LINK]
  • Young, R., (2021) The DfE’s Reading Framework: Our Review And Implications For Teaching Writing [LINK]
  • Young, R., Ferguson, F., (2021) What can we learn from Writing for Pleasure teachers? Primary Matters (2) pp.21-25 [LINK]
  • Young, R., Ferguson, F., (2020) What the research says: the most effective ways to improve children’s writing [LINK]
  • Young, R., Ferguson, F., (2020) Creating a ‘Writing For Pleasure’ pedagogy: one teacher’s practice English 4-11 69 pp.2-5 [LINK]
  • Young, R., Ferguson, F., (2020) The common misconceptions of ‘Writing For Pleasure’ debunked [LINK]
  • Young, R., Ferguson, F., (2020) What if almost everything we thought about writing was wrong? [LINK]
  • Ferguson, F., (2019) How to teach greater depth writing in Primary Teach Primary article [LINK]
  • Young, R., Ferguson, F., (2021) What can we learn from Writing for Pleasure teachers? Primary Matters (2) pp.21-25 [LINK]
  • Young, R., Ferguson, F., (2020) What the research says: the most effective ways to improve children’s writing [LINK]
  • Young, R., Ferguson, F., (2020) Creating a ‘Writing For Pleasure’ pedagogy: one teacher’s practice English 4-11 69 pp.2-5 [LINK]
  • Young, R., Ferguson, F., (2020) The common misconceptions of ‘Writing For Pleasure’ debunked [LINK]
  • Young, R., Ferguson, F., (2020) What if almost everything we thought about writing was wrong? [LINK]
  • Ferguson, F., (2019) How to teach greater depth writing in Primary Teach Primary article [LINK]
Be reassuringly consistent

This chapter identifies the 14 enduring principles of world-class writing teaching according to a rich review of all major meta-analysis since the 1980s. This review is supplemented by evidence taken from prominent case-studies which have looked to understand what it is the most effective teachers of writing do in their classrooms that makes the difference. The authors share instructional decisions which have a proven track record of being effective across time and context. The chapter is able to conclude that the most effective teachers of writing enact the principles of effective practice as identified in scientific study. These principles include: creating a community of writers; treating every child as a writer; reading, sharing, thinking, and talking about writing; pursuing authentic and purposeful class writing projects; pursuing personal writing projects; teaching the writing processes; setting writing goals; teaching mini-lessons; pupil conferencing; balancing composition and transcription; being a writer-teacher; being reassuringly consistent; and connecting reading and writing and interconnection of the principles. A brief description of each principle and its instructional consequences is also provided.

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How Real-World Writers works

This chapter introduces Real-World Writers, an evidence-based approach to writing teaching which is informed by extensive scientific research, spanning 50 years, into effective and principled practice, case studies of some of the best-performing writing teachers, our own Writing For Pleasure research and the wisdom of professional writers. The chapter discusses the reasons for which children are moved to write and the purposes for writing, which include teaching, informing, persuading or influencing, entertaining, painting with words, reflecting and making a record, all for real audiences.

The chapter also discusses the importance of teachers focusing on the affective domains of writing, such as children gaining enjoyment and satisfaction from writing but also developing their feelings of self-efficacy, agency, volition, motivation, self-regulation and writer-identity. These writing behaviours and dispositions will promote a Writing For Pleasure pedagogy which contributes to accelerated progress and academic achievement. Real-World Writers is an inclusive and consistent approach which involves teaching and learning about rhetoric/genre, literature, writing skills and critical literacy. It supports children with English as an additional language (EAL) and with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

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