In Québec, many students in elementary Cycle 3 perform poorly in writing, particularly in terms of relevance and sufficiency of ideas, coherence of text and vocabulary.
These students are likely to continue falling behind in their writing skills, leading to failures in written French in high school.
Several studies have found that motivation plays an important role in developing student writing skills. Five pedagogical practices tend to increase student motivation. These are collaboration, authentic activities, support for autonomy, involvement, and structure (CASIS).
The student teachers who received the training used certain pedagogical practices more often.
To the best of our knowledge, no undergraduate elementary teaching course explicitly addresses these five pedagogical practices. It therefore seemed important, or even essential, to better support the teaching of written French by training undergraduate elementary student teachers in the use of these five practices. This became the focus of our project, which combined research with the training of undergraduate student teachers who are completing their final internship before entering the workforce.
A total of 32 interns and 631 of their students took part in our project, which involved a quasi-experimental longitudinal study. The results show that the student teachers who received the training used certain pedagogical practices more often than those who had not attended the training (control group). However, the motivation shown by their students was similar to that of the students of the control group. While the training did not have a direct tangible effect on student motivation over a short period (a few months), it does appear to have had an impact on their writing success.
Frédéric Guay, Université Laval
Call for proposals
Deposit of the research report: April 2018