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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The relationship between teachers' attitudes to the teaching of writing and whole-language/skills-based philosophies Marshall, Ailsa


This study investigated teachers' attitudes towards four specific strands isolated from views propounded in recent literature and research on the teaching of written composition. Much discussion in this field has focused on a "new paradigm" in that educators and researchers alike have come to view writing from a new perspective. Certain aspects of this new perspective on the teaching of writing appear to be shared by various sources in the literature. From this body of writing the researcher identified and isolated four distinct, though interwoven, shared values or "strands." These concerned Control on the part of the student-writer, Respect for what the student-writer has to say in his or her writing, Sharing the writing process, and Learning from writing by using writing as a tool for learning. A questionnaire was constructed to probe teachers' attitudes to each of these strands. Two sample populations, one with a whole-language and one with a non-integrated orientation towards teaching language, were identified. Twenty-five teachers from each population answered a three-part questionnaire. The main body of the survey probed attitudes to each of the strands. T-test results indicate that, while the whole-language oriented group reacted more favorably to all four strands in general, statistically this was highly significant in only two of the strands. That is, CONTROL on the part of the writer, and SHARING the writing process as in a community of writers appeared to be valued more highly amongst teachers with a whole-language orientation. This suggests that there may be a relationship between a whole-language orientation and these two aspects of teaching writing.

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