Improving writing: maximising children’s progress through Lesson Study

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Constantine, Gemma
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Educational Level
ISCED Level 1 Primary education
Curriculum Area
Geographical Setting
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Background: The school is a larger than average primary school situated in an area of relatively high social disadvantage. The children typically join the school at a lower than expected level for their age, but make good progress throughout the school. Improving writing standards is a main focus throughout the school.
Aims: The purpose of the study was to improve writing standards in a primary school, particularly for pupils who struggle with generating ideas or writing independently, by using speaking and listening activities, role play, and story planning. The study aimed to have a significant impact on pupils' progress in writing and to benefit other members of staff through collaborative planning and sharing of ideas, both within the school and with teachers from other schools.
Methods: The participants are year 1 pupils in a larger than average primary school in an area of high social disadvantage, with a high proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals and a high number of pupils with special educational needs. The study focuses on two pupils, one who struggles with imaginative ideas for writing and the other who is a slow, reluctant writer. The teachers carried out a lesson study in pairs within key stages, focusing on specific children's needs and using Pie Corbett's approach to improve story writing through role play, hot seating, and story planning.
Findings: The lesson study improved writing standards in a primary school with disadvantaged pupils through storytelling, role play, and planning. Collaborative planning and sharing ideas were beneficial for teachers. The approach improved pupil confidence and enthusiasm towards writing, and progress in writing.
Implications: Using talk for writing, including retelling, role play, and planning, improved writing skills and enthusiasm for writing among year 1 pupils, including those with special educational needs. Collaborative planning and lesson study could benefit teachers and pupils in the future, including through smaller-scale lesson studies with teachers from other schools to focus on individual learning needs.
Keywords (free text)
lesson study , literacy , story planning , story writing , primary education
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