Learning to rework written texts at the elementary level with Knowledge Forum:
“Teacher, I don’t know what to write. It sucks; I never have any ideas…
— Teacher, I’ve finished my text.
— Already? We only just started. Have you tried any other ideas? Looked over your text?
— Yes, yes. All my ideas were in my head. And when I looked it over, everything was fine.
It is important to consider writing as a social act, a means of building thoughts.
These exchanges illustrate the problems faced by novice writers given the complexity of the act of writing: difficulty coming up with ideas, lack of textual coherence, writing a single draft copy, making superficial modifications, etc.
The increased use of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) in the education community offers new possibilities to support the learning of writing. This research-action aimed to identify the contribution of technological tools to the acquisition of writing skills. More specifically, we developed, tested and documented the benefits of writing situations inspired by a knowledge-building approach that made use of Knowledge Forum (KF).
The most productive writing situations led students to take part in iterative writing, which means that it inspired them to go beyond writing a single draft or one that only included superficial modifications. They experienced the constructive aspect that comes into play and strongly guides the achievement of polished, refined writing. Furthermore, the students reused what was done in KF (content, sentence connectors, glossary, etc) outside of the forum, during the drafting of a text on paper.
One significant impact of the project lies in the possible solutions it proposes for inspiring students to adopt more advanced discursive behaviour while maintaining their enjoyment of writing. This is done through the use of writing situations that take into account the fact that writing is a social act, a means of building thoughts. It is important to recognize that “writing properly” is not simply the process of producing an error-free text.
Visit the project’s website: http://affordance.uqac.ca/index.php/ecrire-ensemble-au-primaire/
Stéphane Allaire, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi
Deposit of the research report: January 2015