"You're Not the Boss of This Story": Collaboration and Competition in Boys' Writing — Lynne Weber, St. Mark's School of Texas, United States

  • Writing (2009-10)

During the 2009–10 school year, my sixth-grade humanities students at St. Mark’s School of Texas took part in an action research project sponsored by the International Boys’ Schools Coalition (IBSC). The project addressed the broad research question, “How can we help boys become prolific, powerful and confident writers?” Each member of the Action Research team was to implement a specific type of “intervention” in his or her classroom and observe the results of that strategy on student writing. The specific research question that I explored was “How can collaborative writing projects help boys become more prolific, powerful, and confident writers?” In the context of my particular study, I defined these terms in the following way. Prolific (or fluent) writers are able to explain their ideas in written form using abundant detail and fully realized commentary. Powerful (or competent) writers are able to fulfill their purposes effectively by using language in a way that impacts their target audience. Confident writers are able to approach a writing task without fear, anxiety, or hesitation because they are sure that they have the mental tools necessary to produce an effective writing piece. 

Read the full report.