TEN

The wider picture

This book has emphasized the practical possibilities of the process approach. In this chapter it is my intention to review some of the theory and research that relates to the practice. In common with a number of other writers, I consider that Donald Graves's work is the single most important influence on the development of the process approach. For this reason this chapter looks particularly at Graves's research and ideas, and some of his critics.

The process approach as a term and as a teaching approach has had a strong influence in Australia and the USA. In America this is reflected in the journal Language Arts. Language Arts is the journal for primary educators in the USA that is produced by the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE): NCTE is equivalent to the National Association for Teachers of English (NATE) in the UK. In Language Arts the term 'process approach' is regularly used both as a focus for articles and as a well established concept that is frequently referred to.

As an example of such an article from Language Arts I refer to one by Sudol and Sudol (1991). They describe the experiences of Peg Sudol implementing the process approach in her classroom. The article describes how Peg Sudol (1991: 293) came to question her own skill-and-drill approach and 'committed herself to a writers' workshop'. She had two main worries during the year of evaluation. One of these was the problem she faced with a head who was sceptical of the approach; in the end she used test scores to show that the children's results were as good as the year before. The other worry related to her nagging doubt that she 'wasn't doing the workshop right'. This worry was alleviated by talking to a colleague in another school and comparing experiences. The article accepts three texts as 'the handbooks of the new pedagogy': Writing: Teachers and Children at Work (Graves 1983); The Art of Teaching Writing (Calkins 1986); and In the Middle: Writing, Reading and Learning with Adolescents (Atwell 1987). Of the three authors cited in the article, Donald Graves has had the strongest influence on the teaching of writing.

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Primary Writing
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vi
  • Introduction vii
  • One - Writing Workshop 1
  • Two - Emergent Writing 21
  • Three - The Development of Composition 36
  • Four - Transcription 52
  • Five - Interaction 73
  • Six - Recording Language Development 88
  • Seven - The Links with Reading 104
  • Eight - Developing the Process Approach Throughout the School 118
  • Nine - The Process Approach and the National Curriculum 134
  • Ten - The Wider Picture 142
  • Appendix I - Modifications to Plr Writing Sample 152
  • Appendix II - Language Policy Contents List 154
  • Appendix III - Snapshot of Writing Workshop Pieces 157
  • References 159
  • Index 163
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