Rationale for writing


Writing is sometimes under-developed as a skill in its own right, and the act of writing in the classroom may at times not be particularly well-defined in terms of specific objectives, but may instead be the general way to record new language, check that learning has taken place or conclude a topic or sub-topic.

The ALL Connect KS2 Writing Module has an excellent summary of the key rationale for giving opportunities for writing in language learning at KS2, which apply equally well to writing at other key stages, too:

Reasons to Use Writing

  • Writing can be used to practise spelling
  • Writing can be used to practise handwriting and letter formation
  • Writing can be used to practise constructing sentences
  • Writing can be used for real communication
  • Writing can be used for display or presentation

Reasons to Love Writing

  • Writing is more permanent than speaking
  • You can take your time over writing
  • You can use resources to help with writing
  • You can check and correct your writing
  • It is easier to give feedback on writing
  • Writing can be combined with other media
  • Writing can be turned into speaking
  • Speaking can be turned into writing (as long as literacy, phonic understanding and phonic production are good; OFSTED also comments 'Too much speaking relies on writing')
  • Writing allows for creativity
  • Writing can be part of an interactive activity
  • Writing can be scaffolded
  • Writing can reach a wider audience
  • An audience has longer to digest writing

However, in its review of teaching and learning Ofsted said of writing in primary schools:
“Writing was the least developed skill in most of the primary schools visited; it was generally not planned for until at least the later stages, if at all, and where it was, pupils were often limited to copy writing and filling in gaps on worksheets.” (2011)

In secondary schools,
“the schools visited did not begin teaching extended writing early enough in Key Stage 3 for students to make good progress in being creative and expressing themselves spontaneously from early in their language learning”, and “there was too much reliance on mechanical exercises and worksheets and insufficient creative writing.” (2011).

There are, however, many examples of excellent practice in terms of developing writing skills at KS2 and KS3, showcased effectively in the ALL Connect KS2 and ALL Connect KS3 modules.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License