Writing instruction within a teacher program in Sweden
Daroon Yassin Falk is a senior lecturer in Swedish at Örebro University (Sweden). Her PhD was based on a dissertation on writing instruction and student written texts in primary school. She currently holds a postdoctoral position at the Department of Teacher Education, Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Her research interests concern writing development, writing instruction and text analysis.
Eric Borgström is a senior lecturer in Swedish at Örebro University (Sweden). His research interests include writing instruction, writing assessment and text analysis. Eric has been involved in several research projects related to the Swedish national writing tests, investigating theoretical underpinnings (i.e. the construct of writing), as well as practical challenges (i.e. efforts to increase inter-rater reliability).
In this talk we will present an internal investigation of the writing progression within a teacher program for future elementary school teachers in Sweden. The background to the investigation is that many university teachers meet students late in the program that are still far from reaching what the teachers view as acceptable levels of performance in their writing. A key question for the investigation has therefore been: to what extent, and in what ways, has the program given these students sufficient opportunities to develop their academic writing?
Data consists of policy documents, course materials and interviews conducted with representatives from the disciplines involved in the program has been collected to map 1) the writing tasks that students perform throughout the program, and 2) the instructional (writing) activities that students are engaged in. In the presentation, we discuss these mappings in terms of different notions of writing and writing development underpinning the instructional practices.
One finding is that much of the instructional efforts are strictly form-oriented. The students thus get a lot of instruction about how a text should look (and how it shouldn’t look), but not so much is invested in instructional practices oriented towards the choices of writing, and towards an understanding of why particular forms can be more functional than others in academic contexts. A related finding is that the instructional efforts are concentrated on declarative knowledge, i.e. lectures about writing. Instructional activities focusing on procedural knowledge (i.e. practicing the “know-how” of different aspects of writing through student activity) are less common throughout the program.