Understanding "Writing Passivity' in Order to Optimise the Writing Performance of all Student Writers
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The primary objective of this research was to investigate the construct of writing passivity and the situation of passive writers, a group who disliked writing, held poor perceptions of themselves as writers, and used writing strategies that were neither effective nor efficient. The study involved the collection of quantitative and qualitative data from students in the middle years of schooling. A connection between writing passivity and underachievement as a writer was established, with findings suggesting that while passive writers performed more poorly as writers they were not less able than other student-writers. Thus, writing passivity was not related to deficit, but associated with pessimistic explanatory style, especially a tendency to regard bad events as permanent and pervasive. In addition, a perceived lack of control caused a sense of helplessness for passive writers. As such, writing passivity would seem amenable to intervention that is sensitive to students' explanatory style, and that develops a sense of control through the acquisition of knowledge, skills and strategic writing behaviours. Sensitivity to a student's affective disposition, and its intersection with the process of writing should provide a focus for teachers when they respond to students' writing products. Affect must be included in the complex of student behaviours that is scaffolded during instruction. Without its inclusion, a significant dimension of a student writer's meta-cognition is rendered invisible.
Educating: Weaving Research into Practice
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