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If students are to be successful in school, at work, and in their personal lives, they must learn to write. This requires that they receive adequate practice and instruction in writing, as this complex skill does not develop naturally. A basic goal of schooling then is to teach students to use this versatile tool effectively and flexibly. Many schools across the world do not achieve this objective, as an inordinate number of students do not acquire the writing skills needed for success in society today. One reason why this is the case is that many students do not receive the writing instruction they need or deserve. This chapter identifies factors that inhibit good writing instruction, including instructional time; teachers’ preparation and beliefs about writing; national, state, district, and school policies; and historical, social, cultural, and political influences. It then examines how we can address these factors and change classroom writing practices for the better across the world by increasing pertinent stakeholders’ knowledge about writing, with the goal of developing and actualizing visions for writing instruction at the policy, school, and classroom levels. This includes specific recommendations for helping politicians, school administrators, teachers, and the public acquire the needed know-how to make this a reality.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Journal Article

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