How preservice teachers' attitudes and beliefs about writing inform their view of writing instruction : a case study

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Education, Health & Human Development


Attitudes and beliefs about writing held by preservice teachers play a significant role in how they will approach writing instruction in their future classrooms. Teachers who engage in regular writing practice, possess knowledge of English language foundations and grammar, and have a positive attitude about writing will be better prepared to address the challenges of teaching students how to write. This study examined the attitudes and beliefs of seven elementary education majors who were enrolled in one writing?intensive English language arts course during the spring semester in 2016. The participants in this qualitative case study were selected after taking the Writing Apprehension Test (WAT) as part of their coursework. A social constructivism paradigm provided the theoretical framework for this study. Data sources included: a questionnaire, two semi?structured interviews, a writing memories matrix, daily class observations, a focus group, field observer notes, and student work samples and journal entries. The data was analyzed in the context of student as writer and student as future writing teacher. Six themes emerged within the framework of the analysis for both writer and future writing teacher: providing explicit and meaningful feedback; offering choice in writing topics; making writing fun, enjoyable, and possessing an enthusiasm for the subject; providing adequate instruction in writing foundations, skill, and grammar; allowing adequate time for writing practice; and helping students understand the 'why' of writing. This study offers insight into how preservice teachers perceive and practice the writing process, what factors were influential in the development of their attitudes and beliefs, and what role those will play in writing instruction. In addition, this study explores how providing positive experiences with the writing process within the context of the six themes can bolster confidence and skill levels for soon?to?be teachers. Finally, this study concludes with suggestions for how teacher education programs can optimize instruction to remediate and reinforce skills, foster positive experiences with writing, and support future teachers in their journey.




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