Monday, March 21, 2011

Research: Upper Elementary School Writing Instruction

Question: Are elementary school teachers trained to teach writing?

Source: Gilbert, J., & Graham, S. (2010). Teaching writing to elementary students in grades 4–6: A national
survey. The Elementary School Journal, 110(4), 494–519.

Answer: “Reports survey results of grade 4–6 teachers in the United States about their writing practices. One hundred three teachers participated, resulting in a response rate of 34%. Finds that two out of every three participating teachers reported that the education courses they took provided them with minimal to no preparation to teach writing. Students in the participating teachers’ classes spend an average of no more than two hours a week on writing. The most common type of writing involved writing short responses, journal writing, and writing in response to reading material.”

Comment: I have to admit that I’m surprised these upper elementary teachers are limiting writing to two hours a week, consisting of short answers, journals and responses to reading, and that no instruction in the writing process is being provided. I think that minimally upper elementary students should be shown how to brainstorm in preparation for writing, how to organize expository and narrative compositions and how to edit and revise. RayS.

Title: “Annotated Bibliography of Research in the Teaching of English.” Richard Beach et al. Research in the Teaching of English (November 2010), Internet. Note: The editors of RTE said that so much research was available they did not want to burden the paper edition of the journal with it, so they relegated their annotated reports on research to the Internet.

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