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Writing in secondary subjects

Added 23 Apr 2021
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The ability to identify and teach the literacy skills necessary within different subject disciplines is essential for supporting students' understanding and attainment. See our Disciplinary literacy resource to explore the general context for this further.

Subject disciplinary writing models

As part of our Improving writing in secondary subjects professional development course, we recommend that subject teachers use model texts to demonstrate text organisation and deconstruct language features with students.

The resources available on this page provide examples from different subjects and different genres to support teachers to develop and use their own models

Establishing context, purpose and audience

Three things determine the type of writing required for any curriculum task: context, audience and purpose. In secondary school, the context is the subject discipline.

  • Context: the subject and topic
  • Purpose: why am I writing?
  • Audience: who am I writing to or for?

Text type: What is the most appropriate format to use?

The following questions will support understanding of the overall text organisation:

  • Is there an introduction?
  • Does the text have a number of relevant points in separate paragraphs?
  • Has each point been elaborated?
  • Is there an appropriate ending?

As part of the modelling process, teachers may also pay specific attention to subject-specialist (tier 3) or academic (tier 2) vocabulary and one or two pertinent language features such as prevailing verb tense or use of discourse markers.

Additionally the model and plan can be used to co-create a success criteria sheet with students to use when planning and producing their own writing.