Go back to your own school and teaching experiences with writing:
- How is writing usually supported in the language of schooling classroom in your country? What kinds of pre-activities are typically used? What kind of help is provided during the writing process? When do the students get feedback, from whom and in what ways?
- How do students feel about writing in school?
- What writing instruction issues require development in your opinion?
In a linguistically and culturally heterogeneous group, it is not enough to provide topics to write about, students need extensive scaffolding and genre modeling. Writing activities should not be separate but should be integrated into curriculum content focused on language use and teaching. The writing process integrates all the language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing). It also requires some research and study skills. It is crucial that the scaffolding is provided before students are expected to write by themselves.
Writing skills can be used across different languages. Therefore, it is useful to learn about students’ language and literacy backgrounds and draw upon resources in the mother tongue during the writing process.
Drawing on work in Australia, Pauline Gibbons (2009: 106–129) describes and discusses a teaching and learning cycle for scaffolding writing across the curriculum.The approach is based on the belief that all students need to be taught explicitly how to master the full range of genres or text-types practised in school. The teaching and learning cycle is sequenced into a series of four stages, and Gibbons suggests a range of activities that teachers can use with students at each stage.
Evaluate the Gibbons’ approach to developing writing skills:
- What are the pros and cons of the approach?
- Have you tried this approach yourself or experienced something similar as a student?
- Could the approach be adopted in your context?
Choose a writing task typically used in your country and expand on it following the guidelines presented above.