Fixing the Writing Problem
An interview with Across School Leaders Amy Foster and Mandy Milne, Taupo Kahui Ako
Turning around writing results in a CoL—from primary level to high school—can be a challenge. Yet, 14 schools of the Taupo CoL in the North Island are doing just that using the Write that Essay writing system. Write that Essay is different from other writing approaches the Taupo CoL had considered, explains Across School Leaders Amy Foster and Mandy Milne: ‘The WTE system teaches composition—a skill that has been largely overlooked by other approaches—and gives students the security of rules to follow.’
Over the past two years, teachers have studied the impacts of the WTE system more broadly. One key benefit, note Foster and Milne, has been developing a common language for writing: ‘Our transitioning students, in particular, from Years 6 into 7 and Years 8 into 9, are building upon skills from their previous schooling across the community. This has reduced anxiety around writing and reinforced more positive attitudes towards writing.’
But it is not just the students who have benefited. There has been a positive response from the CoL teaching community. Building confidence and capacity of teachers with teaching writing across schools and sharing of resources and ideas has been invaluable.
As they look to the next stage in their journey as a CoL, Foster and Milne are upbeat: "We are now in a position to maintain the momentum of the programme."
“We’ve found it a very effective program—applicable to all year levels and also to students of different abilities.”
Peter Moyle, Principal, Taupo-nui-a-Tia College