At Ashton, we have been focussing on looking at ways to improve students’ writing skills. Writing helps students succeed inside and outside the classroom. Effective writing is a vital component of students’ literacy achievement, and writing is a critical communication tool for students to convey thoughts and opinions, describe ideas and events, and analyze information. There is no doubt that writing is a life-long skill.
Text messaging, Instagram, Twitter, blogging and other forms of social media have become the norm. Immersed as they are in digital technology, many of our students are confident when it comes to transactional writing associated with social networking and other forms of colloquial online communication. They, however, need to develop skills that will enable them to deal with the demands of more complex writing.
Every subject requires students to write. It is important that students recognise and are able to understand how writing differs in the wide range of discipline areas.
Teachers at Ashton are expected to expose students to a range of non-fiction texts and explore the conventions used by the experts. Modelling is also key and staff will regularly live model answering questions. This process is important as it allows the students to see the thought processes of writing. It also allows them to see an expert at work.
Students are given frameworks to answer extended writing questions such as acronyms and structure strips. These help students to organise their thoughts. Planning, editing and proof reading are crucial skills. Students again are encouraged to develop these skills.
Teachers at Ashton will again model editing answers as part of the assessment process. We encourage live marking which means students get in the moment feedback and can therefore make changes to their answers.