ERIC Number: ED282227
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-May
Unintentional Helping in the Primary Grades: Writing in the Children's World. Technical Report No. 2.
Dyson, Anne Haas
Focusing on children's developmental use of written language in kindergarten and first grade, this report looks at connections between the social and academic dimensions of classroom life. The first section examines literacy as an aspect of growing up and becoming a member of society. By highlighting the social and academic divisiveness schooling may promote, this section provides a backdrop for looking into a classroom in which social and academic concerns are interwoven. The second and largest section of the report focuses on one class that was observed from kindergarten through first grade. After delineating the age, gender, and ethnicity of the focal children, the report describes the activities in which they engaged and presents excerpts of children's conversations. The behavior displayed by the children both as a group and individually is also discussed. The third section clarifies and qualifies the concept of unintentional helping, that is, how children's socializing can improve their writing skills, discussing the power of children's social lives and balancing this discussion with a consideration of their need for sensitive, guiding teachers. The concluding section reviews the potentially positive power of the children's social world to support written language growth and stresses several ideas that explicitly are not being suggested by the report, e.g., that children should be "turned loose" or that their work should not be evaluated. (JD)
Descriptors: Behavior Patterns, Child Development, Child Language, Classroom Environment, Cognitive Development, Developmental Stages, Emergent Literacy, Grade 1, Kindergarten, Kindergarten Children, Learning Processes, Peer Relationship, Primary Education, Social Environment, Social Influences, Student Attitudes, Student Behavior, Writing Readiness, Written Language
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Guides - Non-Classroom
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: California Univ., Berkeley. Center for the Study of Writing.
Note: Partial funding also provided by a seed grant from the Spencer Foundation.