Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Building of a Writing Community by Alan J. Wright

Teachers possess great potential to influence student attitudes towards writing. Teachers control the very ‘weather’ in the classroom. Words, deeds, and consistency loom large in this scenario.

When teachers reveal themselves as living, breathing writers they become partners in the learning journey. This nurtures a sense of community. This building of community requires certain other factors also be present:

Teachers undertake powerful action when sharing examples of their writing at all stages. Students grow to know all writing goes through this process.

When students know teachers understand the challenges writing presents and how to approach them, they are more likely to engage.

Asking questions rather than telling students what to write is essential to growing trust.

Acceptance of Difference
Without the choice of topic and form, student voice will not flourish. Writers make decisions.

Effort is valued
Celebrate effort, especially that of struggling writers. Students are motivated to write when effort is acknowledged.

Curiosity and Wonder
Creating a genuine sense of curiosity and wonder is central to the exploration of the writing terrain.

Nudging students to make connections between what was known prior to the experience and what was learned stir the meta-cognitive writer.

Writing should not begin and end at the classroom door. Explore around the school. Seek out the world beyond.

Writing can connect kids to their communities. Children benefit when parents are part of the writing loop.

Authentic Purposes
Young writers need to do real writing. Students write best about matters concerning them most -writing close to their hearts.

A palpable energy exists around an established writing community. An energy sustained by mutual trust, acceptance and a willingness to take risks. You sense it the moment you enter the classroom. It embraces you like a hug.

Alan J. Wright is an experienced educational consultant, writer, and poet who has workedextensively in the U.S. and Australia, where he resides. He is the author of‘Igniting Writing- When A Teacher Writes,’ Hawker Brownlow. His latest book is‘I Bet There’s No Broccoli On The Moon’ a poetry anthology for children. You can connect with Alan on Twitter at @alwriting or on his blog.


  1. Some further support for growing a sense of community among the young writers in your classroom can be found here:
    Hope it assists your great efforts as educators.

  2. This is a great list. Almost could be a checklist for deciding if the tribe you've chosen is right for you.

    1. Thanks Margaret. Your remarks conjure up the notion of a 'just right' tribe of supportive writers.


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