Discourses of writing in Facebook groups for teachers

Submitted by: Erika Sturk
Abstract: Keywords: writing education, discourses of writing, compulsory education, Sweden

Today, social media is an important arena for professional discussions between teachers (Liljekvist et. al. 2017). Here, experienced teachers, teacher students and stakeholders meet and together they develop a professional learning community. Earlier studies of Facebook groups for teachers have shown that the exchange and the interaction mostly concerns the teaching practice. This study aims to deepen that analysis through focusing the members ideas about writing education. How the teachers position themselves will be analysed through Ivanič’s framework of writing discourses (2004) as skill, creativity, process, genre, social practise or as socio-political. Recently, Ivanič (2017) added a a seventh discourse, thinking, which she describes as both a mental process and a writing event that helps writers to clarify their thoughts and learn across the curriculum.

The material consists of a stratified sample of interactions from three major Facebook groups for teachers in the school subject Swedish. Teachers’ discussions about education were selected for analysis along with attached documents, pictures, links and school books tips. An initial analysis of these interactions shows that discussions about reading and writing predominates. About 40 % of the threads in the FB groups focus on writing, the rest is divided between reading (more than 40 %), speaking (almost 10 %) and listening (other). When analyzing the threads about writing education using Ivanič’s framework, preliminary results reveals that all seven discourses are represented. The text-focused writing discourses (the skills and genre discourse) dominate. The creativity discourse is also prominent, in particular in relation to the earlier school years. Similarly to other studies context-focused writing (the social practical and sociopolitical discourse) is rare (Gillblad & Lindgren, in press). Furthermore, the material seems to explore the relationship between the two writing-educational models that are most prominent in Swedish schools: the methodology of the process writing and the genre writing. The study is an important contribution to the writing didactic field, and shows which writing discourses teachers make relevant in networks that they themselves initiate and maintain.

Gillblad, E. & Lindgren, E. (in press). Discourses in teachers’ talk about writing.
Ivanič, R. (2004). Discourses of writing and learning to write. Language and Education, 183(3), 220–245.
Ivanič, R. (2017). Round table on discourses of writing, and writer identity. Paper presented at the LITUM symposium, 4–5 June, Umeå Sweden.
Liljekvist, Y., van Bommel, J., Olin-Scheller, C. (2017). Professional learning communities in a web 2.0 world: Rethinking the conditions for professional development. I: I. H. Amzat, N.P. Valdes & B. Yusuf (red.). Teacher empowerment toward professional development and practices: perspectives across borders. NY: Springer.