Slice Of Life Story Challenge March 6 - Meaningful Change in the Writing Classroom


Effecting Meaningful Change In the Writing Classroom


This morning I visited a nearby Mount Eliza North Primary School where I met with a team of five teachers who are teaching multi age classes (5-7 year olds). This team, or pod, is but one part of a whole school action research project the school is conducting this year. Each team has committed to growing their teaching practice and deepening their knowledge around particular aspects of their pedagogy. Most worthy objectives. I am honored to share the learning journey.


My role is to support each teaching and learning pod as a critical friend. As a whole school I have worked with the staff in a review of instructional practices surrounding the teaching of both reading and writing. Each team is now charged with identifying a literacy related project to improve the delivery of instructional strategies within their particular part of the school. 

Our discussion this morning centred mainly on creating a community of self-directed writers  –a most worthy goal. Talk centred on how best to model writing and the establishment of the conditions necessary for young learners to be afforded, greater choice, ownership and responsibility for the writing that emerges.



It pleased me to hear the team talk about the success they had experienced around establishing a community of readers. They was a stated desire to apply the lessons learnt in creating a positive climate in which readers flourished, to create a similar fertile climate for writing. 

Each of the team members has committed to starting their own writer’s notebook. The aim is to be seen as a teacher who values both reading and writing and to make that visible to students. The notion that 'Like you, I am someone who chooses to be a reader and a writer.' 

To develop a deeper knowledge base, they will invest in professional reading to grow their understanding of effective writing instruction. Initially, teaching will focus on establishing routines and rituals that support students to feel valued as writers. Building writing stamina, just as we build reading stamina will be a huge priority. 

We learn to write by having daily sustained opportunities to grow both confidence and competence as fully functioning writers. This will be part of the mantra for these teachers.

To encourage the growth of brave writers, feedback for effort, sharing discoveries and investigating writing possibilities will be strongly reinforced.  

Because of the collaborative nature of this learning project, regular discussion, reflection and sharing of data will be undertaken to further inform the mindful teaching of writing within these classrooms. This is teaching with intention!

All the while these committed professionals will work on growing the independence of young writers by building reflection into daily practice in the classroom. The end game of independent, self -directed writers is a worthy goal for this team. It will challenge the oft held view of perceived teacher control. In reinforcing how important their project was in creating meaningful change about student attitudes to writing, I left these enthusiastic learners with some words someone shared with me much earlier in my teaching life- ‘The more you empower those in your care, the more you, yourself, are empowered.’ Can’t wait to see what grows out of this important project. 

Tomorrow, I meet with two more teams which means two more exciting possibilities for meaningful investment in effective teaching and learning. 

Comments

  1. How exciting to read this - powerful, student centered learning going on here! Keep us posted, Alan.

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    Replies
    1. As you say Tara, it is an exciting development. The ownership of change is palpable. Will keep you posted as things emerge.

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  2. This is exciting. Even one teacher changing is good. Having a whole team grow is awesome. So many learners will benefit from this collaborative learning.

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  3. I agree Terje. It is an exciting time in this school with so many projects driving pedagogical change and improvement. The collaborative design of these investigations is a strong feature of the design.

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