Updated: Sep 3
Whatever has brought you to our tiny corner of the world today, welcome. In this very first blog, I’m going to talk about the purpose of the website and what we’re hoping to achieve as we launch our brand of education ideology on the world.
Firstly- what is Plan 2 Write and what does it mean?
Plan 2 Write ideology and methodology is central to the framework of explicit teaching practices we utilise as tutors. When I first began researching exactly how to help students meaningfully improve their writing, I dove into all the available research. With so much content to trial, I found it more straightforward and beneficial to take small parts of every single educational theory I read about and use them in the classroom. I tried many practical, step-by-step strategies with students with wide-ranging abilities across age groups 12 to 18. The salient detail that linked students with wide-ranging skills was one distinct deficit; the majority of students, regardless of age or ability, possessed an inability to visualise the pathway through the writing task in front of them. Yes. You read that correctly. From bright kids to kids who struggled, all groups struggled to visualise their ideas. For the brighter kids, it was mainly ego; they didn’t feel they needed to. The average kid didn’t want to plan, preferring to dive in and get it over and done with. The kids who struggled often didn’t feel connected to the topic, and fear tended to hold them back. More surprising to me was that brighter students or students with natural ability often achieved lower results when tested under exam conditions than tasks completed at home. It wasn’t a matter of having too much help from Mum and Dad or older siblings or access to info from the web; it was their inability and unwillingness to visualise or plan a piece of writing. Failing to adequately plan, which means spending that 4 or 5 minutes at the start of an exam to sufficiently plan their response, affected their ability to write cohesively and effectively to the requirements of the task.
However, when presented with time at home, the more gifted students used that home time efficiently to work on and refine their written tasks. It could be any task, for example, essay, short story, report, or recount. Under exam conditions, students don't have the luxury of time to edit their work for clarity. Students who struggled, by comparison, typically produced written work that contained what we lovingly called 'fluff.' The unstructured, often ill-thought-out task, might 'dance' around a topic without engaging with the requirements of the task. This tended to occur with either analytical or creative pieces. Again, let me reiterate that the salient detail that united ALL students was that every student failed to understand what effective planning is. P2W tutors address this deficit by teaching students to visualise their learning pathways through extensive modelling and practise. Once the visualisation neural pathway is formed through practise, students' writing reflects a more cohesive understanding of the structure of the text type and a more intelligent discussion of an argument, thesis, or creative idea. Phase one, planning, is, therefore, critical to the development of writing skills in students from all backgrounds and abilities.
The above information explains how step 1 in the P2W 4 step process was born. Step 1 is a starting point for students to visualise the topic and make those preliminary steps towards in-depth knowledge of the text and content. P2W will teach your child to visualise their approach to an issue that will benefit them no matter the context of the task. They can then draw from their P2W toolkit to plan their response to any task completed at home or school under examination conditions.
Step 1: Planning through visualisation
Helping students to visualise their learning pathway through a topic/idea was one of the early indicators of success for Plan 2 Write. By assisting students to LEARN how to VISUALISE through planning, I helped them see AND understand the basic structure of the writing task in front of them. Each phase BUILDS on the layers of meaning put down in the step before. Crucial to Plan 2 Write was the rigidity in which we stuck to the guidelines for phase 1 through to phase 4.
Over 80% of the students who participated in the early days of the P2W program initially reacted negatively to planning. This is when, as a teacher, I would most commonly get push back. The students didn’t see the need for planning, and because the idea of planning is often disconnected from the assessment task, they didn’t want to do it. As their teacher, with push back, I would often push right back. I became insistent, consistent, and persistent. I don’t deviate from the plan in front of me because I know they will benefit from learning the processes to becoming a strong writer in the long run. As a P2W tutor, the same philosophy to teaching will apply to my online students. I will be insistent, consistent, and persistent about EACH of the 4 phases of the P2W program to give your child the best writing toolkit possible for their age and ability.
If you have further questions about the four phases or a general question about the suitability of P2W for your child, please don’t hesitate to contact us as firstname.lastname@example.org