Teachers as Writers Full Research Report

By Becky Swain, Head of Learning & Participation, Arvon

We are delighted this month to be able to publish Teachers as Writers: A report for Arts Council England on the value of writers’ engagement with teachers to improve outcomes for all pupils.

We hope you’ll be sufficiently curious to take a closer peek at the detail of the findings. We would love to hear from you about anything that strikes you as helpful, or maybe surprising or unexpected. I’ve already got myself hooked on the appendices at the back that detail the research questions that we asked teachers, professional writers and students as part of the project.

The report shares research findings from the partnership between Arvon, The Open University and University of Exeter. This two year project reveals new insights on the value of teachers expanding their own understanding about writing and being a writer through working with professional writers.

As Professor Teresa Cremin detailed in a recent blog post, the report highlights consequences for classrooms, both primary and secondary, including:
• the significance of time and space to ‘Just Write’ (who owns the space to write?);
• the potency of the personal and drawing on life experience (who frames their content choices?);
• the value of investing more energy and effort in revising (whose choices are these?);
• the need to develop students’ autonomy as writers (whose writing is it anyway?).

Over the last six months, since we published the Research Executive Summary, the research team around this project have enjoyed leading writing workshops with teachers in schools from London, Merseyside and Oxford. Teachers have expressed how much they have gained from time and space to write together, alongside the chance to discuss implications for teaching writing in the classroom.

Thanks for everyone who has engaged with this work already as it’s been great to learn from each other’s practice. If you would like to connect with Arvon about the report, or our work with teachers, please do email becky.swain@arvon.org

And before we break up for the holidays, just a reminder that Arvon are now recruiting schools for The Craft of Writing – a project with schools that continues our partnership with The University of Exeter and Open University in 2018-19. Funded by Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and the Royal Society of the Arts (RSA), this project will explore further how the opportunity for teachers to work with professional writers might change their understanding of being a writer, how they teach writing, and improve children’s outcomes in writing.

The Craft of Writing is a rare opportunity for deep, sustained CPD in the teaching of writing that focuses on both writing standards and children’s motivation and engagement as creative and effective writers. It is a national project, but we are particularly keen that it benefit primary schools in the North of England. The project is targeted at Year 5 teachers and involves two significantly subsidised weekend residentials (at Lumb Bank, The Ted Hughes Arvon Centre near Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire), three free CPD days and some funding for supply cover.

If you are interested in this opportunity to improve children’s outcomes in writing and motivate young writers, please email: Teresa.cremin@open.ac.uk or rebecca.coles@open.ac.uk or phone 01908 653212. The deadline for joining the project is until the end of January 2018.

2 thoughts on “Teachers as Writers Full Research Report”

  1. Thank you! We, in Australia, don’t have anything like ARVON, but I’ve taken steps to implement different writing opportunities for teachers and students: writing retreats, writer in residence programs over three days, and forming writing teacher groups. Do you mind if I borrow the pre and post questions for some action research in New South Wales?

    1. Hi Kerri, Thanks for your continued interest in the research. It sounds like you are putting some important work in place in Australia. We’d be more than happy for you to use the pre and post questions that we used in the Teachers as Writers research project. We would just kindly ask that the TAW research report is credited in any documentation.
      Please do keep in touch with us on how the work develops and we’d love to learn more from your experience through the action research with teachers in New South Wales.

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