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A random sample of 1,313 grades 7–9 Chinese language arts teachers in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taipei were surveyed about their instructional writing practices. When asked about their college, inservice, and personal preparation, three out of four teachers indicated that they were poorly prepared to teach writing. They were slightly positive about themselves and writing, their students and writing, and their effectiveness as writing teachers. Textbooks, school guidelines, national standards, and high school entrance exams played a prominent role in shaping how they taught writing, but a sizable minority of teachers indicated that they mostly designed their own writing program. Writing classes occurred infrequently, as just one in six teachers held a class more often than once every two weeks. Teachers used evidence-based practices, but such procedures were typically applied only once a month. Students completed a broad range of writing activities during the school year and applied a variety of revising and planning procedures. Consistent with sociocultural theory, teachers from the four locations evidenced differences on almost every variable studied, although the observed differences were mostly a matter of degree (i.e., teachers applied certain practices more or less frequently). Teachers’ preparation, beliefs about writing, and frequency of writing classes predicted their instructional practices and how frequently students engaged in specific writing activities.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Journal Article

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