I had been reading around the 10,000 hour rule that was shared by Gladwell. You can read all about the research and also how and why it was recently criticised.
At the same time I have been analysing our student data against national standards. At this time of the year I usually have a look at how we are doing and particularly how my ELL students are doing. I have written about this process before.
I looked at our writing data and wondered about the hours that we put into daily writing. A 40 hour work week multiplied by 5 years equates to an estimated 10,000 hours.
Children should be having approximately 1/6 of that or about 6,000 hours worth of school learning by the time they leave primary school. I am taking into account the 40 week school year. So 25 weekly hours face to face multiplied by the 40 week year.
If we want to see a shift in our school’s writing data then we have to be targeting that number. However the realities of school life indicates that writing happens more like 200 hours per year. I thought about the usual class timetable that schedules an hour a day for writing. I haven’t carried out any research into this claim but am just putting it out there. In order to fulfil a daily writing schedule as educators we have to be focusing on writing across the curriculum. I have been working in the senior part of the school this term for an hour a day and have the fabulous opportunity of being part of an experiential timetable. One way I see around this dilemma of practice is encouraging students to write at home in the same way that we encourage them to keep a reading log.
I wonder too if a 2P in writing equates to 600 hours worth of crafting. The article mentioned a direct statistical relationship between hours of practice and achievement. No shortcuts. No naturals. So I wonder too if we can fast forward a 2P to a 3B if that requires another two years years or another 200 hours of writing practice.
Personally I also believe that teachers too should be writing. They should be crafting their own work and working on their own skills. I believe it is not enough to teach writing but should be happening as part of teacher’s own learning.
One way of gaining motivation to undertake writing is to create a reflective journal. I read with interest some of the comments teachers on the New Zealand Primary School Teacher’s Facebook Page gave in regarding to keeping a digital portfolio. I believe that part of my portfolio includes me reflecting on what I do in a visible way and I do that by blogging. I wonder how these same teachers evidence their professional teacher criteria. Surely if you teach writing you should be working on your own skills.
If you want to find other New Zealand teachers who reflect in visible ways and who practice the craft of writing then look no further than
I wonder what are your thoughts on educators teaching writing. Is it enough to teach writing or do you also believe that teacher writing and teaching writing go hand in hand?
I look forward to the dialogue.