Whose writing is it anyway? Issues of control in the teaching of writing
University of Exeter
Cambridge Journal of Education
In the UK, teachers have moved from a process approach to the teaching of writing to a more didactic and objectives led programme. This has given rise to concerns about the suppression of creativity and enjoyment. Writing is a convention bound activity where spelling, punctuation and expectations about different text types imply a right and wrong way of writing. On the other hand, the best writers are able to use and subvert conventions in creative and individual ways. Teachers of young writers are faced with the difficulty of teaching the correct conventions at the same time as encouraging individual responses. This paper considers evidence from a small-scale study that may shed some light on how teachers cope with these potentially opposing demands. Evidence points to teachers giving very clear guidance to pupils about what is expected of them and carefully scaffolding pupils' learning. However, scaffolding implies a stage where control is handed over to the learners and in this study there was little evidence of these teachers handing over the control. It is argued that for children to learn the conventions at the same time as developing confidence to use these conventions in individual and creative ways, this handover of control is essential.
This is a postprint of an article whose final and definitive form has been published in the Cambridge Journal of Education© 2006 Copyright University of Cambridge, Faculty of Education; Cambridge Journal of Education is available online at http://www.informaworld.com