Explain the importance of modelled writing in the primary English classroom

Essay by rikimoUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, August 2006

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"Most teachers accept that children learn to read by reading. It is equally important that children learn to write by writing" (Evans, 1991, in EDU 282 Reader, 2005, 260). It would be unreasonable, then, to assume that children are born with an innate ability to write, as "writing is essentially a cultural artefact" (Green and Campbell, 2003,131).

Happily, (and hopefully) the teaching of writing has moved on from the days where, embedded in the skills approach to literacy, it was largely regarded as a series of skills "that could be drilled separately from one another and from any particular context" (Wilkinson et al, 1980 in Green and Campbell, 2003, 132). The process writing movement developed by Graves (1983, cited in Green and Campbell, 2003, 132) led the emphasis away from the product of writing to the process used in order to produce the writing.

Following these ideas, Cambourne (1984, cited in Green and Campbell, 2003, 132) added to process writing with the development of a set of eight 'natural conditions' that he believed would enhance writing development in children.

One of these conditions is that of 'demonstration' which suggests that "learners need to observe and be given many different demonstrations of learning" (Green and Campbell, 2003, 46). Evans (1991, 282 Reader, 261) concurs with this argument, stating "children learn language more effectively in an environment which provides demonstrations of how language is used. Here we have the basis for modelled writing.

Modelled writing is part of the genre approach to writing, which developed through arguments propounded by Rothery (1984) and Christie (1990) (cited in Green and Campbell, 2003, 133) for a weakness in the process writing approach - specifically that students were producing a surplus of the narrative genre to the detriment of developing writing competency in other genres, and...