"What Helps Us Improve?": Sixteen High School Seniors' Perceptions of Their Growth as Writers

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Writing plays an important role in academic learning, career success, and personal enlightenment. However, because of the complex nature of writing and the competing demands on English teachers' time and attention, teaching writing is no easy task. And while a growing body of research has explored various methods for teaching writing, few studies have examined effective writing instruction from the student's perspective. Accordingly, the purpose of this study was to ascertain what sixteen high school seniors deemed beneficial in their development as writers. During in-depth interviews, I invited participants to peruse their high school writing portfolios and discuss how their various writing experiences affected their writing skills. The students identified four primary factors in their growth as writers: (1) audience feedback, which included teacher comments, peer feedback, teacher-student conferences, and parental/external review; (2) experience with the writing process, which included experience in general, experience with grammar in context, and experience with self-analysis; (3) reading, which included reading in general and reading model texts; and (4) motivation to write, which included student interest, freedom of choice, connections between writing and other art forms, and self-efficacy for writing.Hossein described the benefit of having a model observation essay as follows: Oh, I wanted to tell you this. ... because the sample essays gave him a a€œdirectiona€ and a€œfocusa€ for his paper, showing him where he should expand and providing a anbsp;...

Title:"What Helps Us Improve?": Sixteen High School Seniors' Perceptions of Their Growth as Writers
Author: Kelly Courtney-Smith
Publisher:ProQuest - 2008

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