A reflexive approach to teaching writing: enablements and constraints in primary school classrooms

Mary Ryan*, Maryam Khosronejad, Georgina Barton, Lisa Kervin, Debra Myhill

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Writing requires a high level of nuanced decision-making related to language, purpose, audience, and medium. Writing teachers thus need a deep understanding of language, process, and pedagogy, and of the interface between them. This article draws on reflexivity theory to interrogate the pedagogical priorities and perspectives of 19 writing teachers in primary classrooms across Australia. Data are composed of teacher interview transcripts and nuanced time analyses of classroom observation videos. Findings show that teachers experience both enabling and constraining conditions that emerge in different ways in different contexts. Enablements include high motivations to teach writing and a reflective and collaborative approach to practice. However, constraints were evident in areas of time management, dominance of teacher talk, teachers’ scope and confidence in their knowledge and practice, and a perceived lack of professional support for writing pedagogy. The article concludes with recommendations for a reflexive approach to managing these emergences in the teaching of writing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417– 446
Number of pages30
JournalWritten Communication
Issue number3
Early online date9 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021


  • classroom writing conditions
  • reflexive writing pedagogy
  • teacher talk
  • teaching writing
  • writing
  • writing knowledge


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