Encouraging Boys to Engage in Writing: A Study of Classroom Culture and Behaviours
This paper presents findings from a study of two Year 4 classrooms, one in UK and one in USA, in which boys are seen to be particularly committed and effective writers and enthusiastic and sensitive supporters of others' writing. The presentation focuses on the conditions for learning created by each teacher, and the ways in which boys (and girls) respond to these. The teachers are shown to retain control of the lessons whilst affording pupils agency to direct their own work Key issues discussed are: characteristics of effective classroom cultures to support pupils' learning, the nature of constructive discourse between teacher and pupils and amongst pupils, the balance between support and challenge for pupils, the importance of a dialogic pedagogy in the teaching of writing. Conclusions are drawn about the aspects of these classrooms that particularly enable boys to flourish, and more broadly about the characteristics of and reasons for the effectiveness of these teachers. The original work was part of a longitudinal PhD study, extended by post-doctoral research.
Keywords: Boys' Writing, Conditions for Learning, Classroom Discourse, Dialogic Pedagogy, Control and Agency, Effective Learning and Teaching
Dr Chris White
Head of School of Education, School of Education, Bath Spa University College