Reading and Writing

, Volume 29, Issue 5, pp 981–1011 | Cite as

Mapping the landscape of writing instruction in New Zealand primary school classrooms

  • Judy M. Parr
  • Rebecca Jesson


Writing instruction in New Zealand occurs in a context with potential for variability in curriculum and delivery. The national curriculum is broad; self governing schools are to interpret and apply as appropriate to their local context. There are no mandated tests, nor external examinations until the last three years of school. Schools report to the Ministry about achievement in Years 1–8 against national standards in writing, based on overall teacher judgements. The nature of this context supports the notion of drawing on several sources to describe the current landscape of writing instruction: policy documents, specifically the curriculum and standards; national tools and resources for professional learning; the limited existing research base relating to writing in New Zealand, and a study designed to extend this latter body of work by surveying teachers about their practices. The existing research largely concerns the practices of exemplary teachers or relates to investigating the effects of professional development interventions. The survey reported provides the most direct evidence of actual practice. Survey responses (N = 118) came from, on average, moderately experienced teachers who reported a relatively high level of confidence regarding aspects of teaching writing. Results suggest that surveyed teachers reflected the themes identified in the New Zealand teacher based and intervention research, which in turn reflected policy initiatives. The combined evidence indicates the influence of the ‘teaching as inquiry’ approach on writing pedagogy.


Writing instruction primary school Teaching as inquiry New Zealand 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Curriculum and Pedagogy, Faculty of Education and Social WorkThe University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

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