Writing instruction in Ibero-America: national survey studies in Spanish and Portuguese

Submitted by: Magdalena Flores
Abstract: Mastering writing skills is essential in contemporary society: it is essential for academic success, participation in civic life and the world of work. However, in many countries there are concerns about how this actually happens in classrooms, due to the number of young people who finish their school education without being able to communicate in writing effectively (MacArthur, et al., 2006; Graham & Perin, 2007).
Innovation must be based on a realistic view of teachers’ practices at school (Graham & Rijlaarsdam, 2016). However, little is known about how writing is taught worldwide. To obtain the required evidence, it is crucial to conduct descriptive studies that relate teachers’ practices to their cultural context: background features vary from country to country, and they strongly affect how writing education is viewed in each of them. These contextual features shape societal needs and societal expectations, which in turn can be considered preconditions for writing instruction (Graham & Rijlaarsdam, 2016, p. 784).

Therefore, the main goal of this symposium is to provide the required evidence of teachers’ practices in writing instruction and its’ relation to particular contexts. Based on that evidence, we aim to provide a basis to better prepare students worldwide to become skilled writers. We intend to do so by presenting studies that examine teachers’ practices and beliefs about writing instruction in various countries across Ibero-America, as a unified geo-cultural area (Tardif, 2006). We will include both studies conducted in Portuguese-speaking countries, Portugal and Brazil, as well as in Spanish speaking countries, Spain and Chili.

To meet the main goal of this symposium, participants will (a) describe the current state-of-the-art and the difficulties they experience in the prevailing educational writing practices in each of the countries included (b) reflect critically on each particular situation and compare them in the overarching final discussion, and (c) promote an active dialogue between the presenters, discussant and the audience, by gathering questions, implications and new perspectives that should be included in future research and educational practice.

Graham, S., McKeown, D., Kiuhara, S., & Harris, K. (2012). A meta-analysis of writing instruction for students in the elementary grades. Journal of Educational Psychology, 104, 879-896.
Graham, S., & Rijlaarsdam, G. (2016). Writing education around the globe: Introduction and call for a new global analysis. Reading and Writing, 29, 781-792. DOI 10.1007/s11145-016-9640-1.
MacArthur, C., Graham, S., & Fitzgerald, J. (2006). Introduction. In C. A. MacArthur, S. Graham, & J. Fitzgerald (Eds.), Handbook of writing research (pp. 1-10). New York: The Guilford Press.
Tardiff, J. (2006) Culture et territoire: Les espaces symboliques [Culture and territory: The sybmolic spaces. In Les enjeux de la mondialisation culturelle Tardiff, J. & Farchy, J. Éditions Hors Commerce, Paris, p. 55-70

Rut Sánchez-Rivero, University of Leon (Spain), rsanr@unileon.es
Anabela Malpique, Murdoch University (Australia), anabela.malpique@googlemail.com
Magdalena Flores-Ferrés, University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands), magdflores@gmail.com

Chair and opponent
Luisa Alvares Pereira, University of Aveiro (Portugal), lpereira@ua.pt