Reading and Writing
School of Education
CAUL and its Member Institutions
Providing adequate writing instruction and practice in schools is an essential cornerstone of writing development and it affords a diagnostic approach for teachers. But what writing instruction is being practiced in Australian primary schools? The aim of this study was to survey a sample of teachers (n = 310) about their instructional practices for writing and their preparation and self-efficacy to teach writing. The majority of the teachers surveyed indicated they allocated on average less than three hours per week for writing practice in their classrooms, with findings further showing a large variability in the frequency of writing practice ranging from 15 min to 7.5 h per week. Findings suggested an emphasis placed on teaching foundational skills, such as spelling, over the teaching of process skills, such as planning and revising. Results further indicated that less emphasis is placed on teaching handwriting and typing. The majority of participating teachers reported implementing only six of the 20 different instructional practices included in the survey on a weekly basis, with school-home strategies being the least frequently reported strategies to foster students’ writing development. Most teachers expressed positive beliefs about their preparation and self-efficacy for teaching writing. Results from multiple regression analysis showed that preparation and self-efficacy for teaching writing significantly and statistically accounted for variability in using evidence-based practices, teaching foundational skills, and teaching process skills. However, only self-efficacy made a statically significant contribution to predicting strategies to extend writing to the home environment. Implications for teaching and recommendations for research are provided.
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