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Training writing skills: A cognitive development perspective

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Author(s): Kellogg, Ronald T.

Journal: Journal of Writing Research
ISSN 2030-1006

Volume: 1;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2008;
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Keywords: writing skills | professional writers | cognitive development | working memory | training

ABSTRACT
Writing skills typically develop over a course of more than two decades as a child matures and learns the craft of composition through late adolescence and into early adulthood. The novice writer progresses from a stage of knowledge-telling to a stage of knowledgetransforming characteristic of adult writers. Professional writers advance further to an expert stage of knowledge-crafting in which representations of the author's planned content, the text itself, and the prospective reader's interpretation of the text are routinely manipulated in working memory. Knowledge-transforming, and especially knowledge-crafting, arguably occur only when sufficient executive attention is available to provide a high degree of cognitive control over the maintenance of multiple representations of the text as well as planning conceptual content, generating text, and reviewing content and text. Because executive attention is limited in capacity, such control depends on reducing the working memory demands of these writing processes through maturation and learning. It is suggested that students might best learn writing skills through cognitive apprenticeship training programs that emphasize deliberate practice.
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