Changing the Balance: How Can Boy's Writing Confidence be Increased by Shifting Classroom Writing Frequency? — Steven J. Middleton, Knox Grammar School/Brighton Grammar School, Australia

  • Writing (2009-10)

This Action Research project was completed to determine whether boys’ writing confidence could be enhanced through shifts in classroom writing frequency. An intervention saw students complete daily targeted writing exercises designed to boost writing confidence over a three-week period. This project was initially designed for Year 12 boys approaching their final English examinations, before a change in employment led to further focus on the writing confidence of Year 8 boys. A range of qualitative data collection methods measured boys’ writing confidence levels pre- and postintervention. A “less is more” approach sought to increase the “writing metabolism” of students by adjusting the balance from longer complex pieces of writing on a weekly or twice weekly schedule, to a daily writing activity designed to mirror the briefer manner of social media with which boys write beyond the classroom. My own observations of boys’ writing often revealed an innate lack of writing confidence expressed through frustrated statements such as “I don’t know how to start” or “How much do I have to write?” Despite differences in age and geography, results obtained with both samples revealed confidence could be enhanced, as well as the joy boys can experience with writing when confidence is developed. Project outcomes challenged my thinking about boys’ writing with implications for my own professional practice.

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