The purpose of the activity
As they work with the tutor to construct a text through shared (or guided) writing, learners brainstorm ideas, plan an outline, and draft a piece of writing for a particular purpose in a specific form. By writing the text collaboratively, the learners learn from the tutor and from each other, become confident in expressing their ideas, and extend their thinking. The tutor is able to focus the learners on the steps of the progressions they need to work on next.
Shared writing is a joint writing approach in which both tutor and learners contribute to the plan, the ideas, and the language of the text they construct together.
In guided writing, tutors discuss and model writing strategies with the learners in small groups as the learners work towards constructing their own texts independently.
The teaching points
- The learners engage actively in contributing to the writing process, suggesting ideas for content and structure.
- They reflect to consider how far the shared writing has met its intended purpose.
- They reflect on their understanding of purpose, audience, word and text feature choices, planning, composing, revising and editing.
- They extend their own understanding by learning from others and trying new ideas.
- Whiteboard and markers.
- Writing frame (optional).
The guided teaching and learning sequence
1. Before beginning the shared writing task, clarify with the learners why the writing is being done collaboratively.
2. Clarify the purpose and the audience with the learners and discuss the choices and consequences they will need to take into account for the purpose and audience.
3. Discuss the topic with learners, activate their prior knowledge, and brainstorm ideas (for example, by drawing a mind map or listing words that are related to the topic). Ask probing questions to determine whether the ideas gathered reflect an understanding of the topic and the purpose.
4. Decide on an appropriate text form.
5. Model how a writer analyses, evaluates and clarifies their ideas, chooses appropriate vocabulary, and draws on language and text knowledge to compose and revise a text. Acknowledge the interrelatedness of each part of the writing process.
6. Work with learners to organise the ideas and plan an outline, reminding them of the outlines they have worked with previously (for example, activities that use writing frames).
7. With the learners, critically analyse how the main ideas are to be expressed (for example, whether they will be supported by evidence or illustration).
8. Write with the learners, constructing the text together. Discuss the choices learners are making and the possible consequences of different choices.
9. Discuss whether appropriate language features have been used to link ideas and whether the text is likely to engage its intended audience.
10. Review the purpose for writing and adapt content if necessary.
11. Modify the writing, attending to surface features such as spelling, grammar and punctuation if necessary.
12. Reflect on ways the text could be presented and choose a way that best meets the purpose for writing.
13. Proofread and finalise the text.
14. Make the completed text available to the intended audience and seek feedback.