Writing: Reluctant Writers

Dr Paul Gardner | View as single page | Comment/Feedback

Context - Influencing factors

The project investigated possible factors that might influence a propensity towards a child's reluctance to write. Five factors were identified. A central feature is the child's feeling about writing and self view as a writer.

In general, it was found that multiple factors lay behind a pupil's reluctance to write. However, in just under one third of cases reluctance was attributable to a single factor. In the first phase of the project, teachers identified this single factor to be a desire, on the part of the pupil, to produce perfect, or near perfect, 'work'. This hard core of 'perfectionists' made up the 31% of pupils whose cause was solely located in a category called the 'Affective Resistor'. Further investigation may have revealed other contributory influences but these were not as obvious to teachers as the 69% of pupils who were more easily identified as having multiple causes.

The most frequent of these multiple causes were cognitive factors. These were found in 64% of cases and the frequency is perhaps indicative of the multiplicity of skills required of the writer.

External influences on the learner were identified in 42% of cases. The most frequent example of the influence of Culture and ethos was parental expectations.

Physical factors occurred in 32% of cases with fine motor control cited as the main impediment.

The most infrequent influential factor identified was pedagogic causes. Only 6% instances of this influence were identified. In the context of the study there was insufficient evidence to explore this more fully.