Revolutionising writingPosted: August 1, 2017
For the past couple of years I have been working with my school’s English team to try to apply some research findings to the teaching of writing.
This has mainly focused on the need to pay attention to cognitive load and therefore break writing down into it’s component parts. Barak Rosenshine’s American Educator article on explicit teaching has been helpful in guiding our thinking. We have also recognised that writing is knowledge dependent; you cannot expect students to write well on topics that they know little about. So part of the process has involved selecting writing domains worthy of extended study. This has involved moving away from the banal writing prompts implicitly encouraged through standardised testing such as NAPLAN.
I wrote about some of the things we have learnt here.
I had never heard of the “Hochman Method,” or “Writing Revolution,” but when I read a recent article on this in American Educator, I immediately recognised a very similar set of ideas. The article was about an approach to writing instruction developed by Judith C. Hochman. There’s not quite 100% correspondence with the work we have done, but there is enough to encourage me that we are on the right track. It’s reassuring to notice this kind of convergent evolution because, as in nature, it suggests a robust solution to the problem.
A book based upon the Hochman methods, “The Writing Revolution,” by Hochman and Natalie Wexler, is available soon and I am keen to get my hands on a copy.
I am left to contemplate two points. Firstly, I had somehow managed to miss literature on the Hochman Method and I need to perhaps be more thorough in future. Secondly, American Educator has once again proven that it is the publication of most practical value to teachers.