Learning to write effectively : Current trends in European research - Université de Bretagne Occidentale Access content directly
Books Year : 2012

Learning to write effectively : Current trends in European research

Mark Torrance
  • Function : Scientific advisor
Denis Alamargot
Montserrat Castello
  • Function : Scientific advisor
Franck Ganier
  • Function : Scientific advisor
  • PersonId : 919647
Otto Kruse
  • Function : Scientific advisor
Anne Mangen
  • Function : Scientific advisor
Liliana Tolchinsky
  • Function : Scientific advisor
Luuk van Waes
  • Function : Scientific advisor


Knowledge sharing is the key to society‟s economic, social, scientific and cultural development. It is mainly through writing that knowledge is created, shared and acted upon across cultural boundaries. Research into writing in schools and the workplace, contributes to the quality of the knowledge cycle. Writing is an extremely varied activity, ranging from jotting down shopping lists, writing school essays and designing blogs and websites to penning novels and monographs. It can be created in various ways (handwriting, keyboarding, dictation, speech synthesis) and contexts (text messages, letters, press releases, essays, poetry, scientific papers, company reports, legal texts, etc.). The common underlying factor is that writing involves the construction of knowledge objects which are shared, understood while the writer is absent, and stored for the future. Advances in the study of writing can have far-reaching consequences for our understanding of writing processes, of evidence-based teaching methods and of democracy. The long-standing focus on reading skills is consistent with the official line that citizens must primarily be able to understand written information. However, to make their voices heard, readers must also be able to write. With the advent of new information technologies, new curricula and greater specialization in the workplace, written communication has become a vector for integration and success within our society. In order to improve the teaching and use of writing, there must be continuous development in knowledge of the cognitive and linguistic processes associated with text production by skilled and, by developing writers, and by text users. Europe has an active and dynamic writing research community that makes a significant contribution to international scientific advances. Nevertheless, for historical, linguistic and cultural reasons, European research is not as unified as in the USA; researchers are relatively isolated and inter-country cooperation could be improved significantly. This means it is difficult to develop comparative studies of writing instruction and to share good practice and sharing knowledge across boundaries. Overcoming this problem requires (i) the creation of a European platform that spans the gap between 'regional' research cultures, promoting cooperation and providing high quality scientific data. This will permit (ii) the dissemination of recommendations on writing to a broad spectrum of end users - schools, universities, workplaces, citizens. The COST Action IS0703 "European Research Network on Learning to Write Effectively" (ERN-LWE) represents an efficient and effective route to achieve this twofold objective. By co-operation between research teams from different states that are already investigating writing (or are planning to do so) ERN-LWE permits the development of an active, open network, based on the commitment of researchers and boosted by regular scientific events, meetings and junior researchers‟ training. ERN-LWE and its constitutive tools (working groups, short term scientific missions, conference, training schools, workshops) are of invaluable assistance and accelerate the emergence of a European writing network, bringing concrete results from studies already underway and stimulating new ones in countries which do not yet have structured writing research. Strong links between researchers and professionals (teachers, educators, technical writers, administrators, etc.) will ensure that recommendations about how to write effectively will penetrate many areas of European society. The Action‟s research and innovation effort focuses on four areas, each associated with one of four working groups, and with the following aims: - Early acquisition of writing skills in education. describing the acquisition of writing by pupils with or without learning difficulties in their mother tongue and a second language; understanding learning difficulties; analysing the impact of teaching situations. - Improvements in written communication, in education and in the workplace: describing the development of different writing skills in two languages; understanding the factors favouring the development of expertise; comparing and designing specific and appropriate training situations. - Design of written documents in the workplace: describing how professional writers manage their skills and knowledge; improving documents‟ communicative impact; modelling expertise. - Technological advances in writing tools: developing and standardising technological tools for studying and fostering the writing process. This book is an original and interesting presentation of the main research conducted by the COST Action "ERN-LWE" inside these four areas. I hope that readers will find it interesting and through it they will discover the richness of European writing research and its contribution to broader European social issues.


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Dates and versions

hal-01003371 , version 1 (10-06-2014)


  • HAL Id : hal-01003371 , version 1


Mark Torrance, Denis Alamargot, Montserrat Castello, Franck Ganier, Otto Kruse, et al. (Dir.). Learning to write effectively : Current trends in European research. Emerald, pp.425, 2012, 978-1-78052-928-8. ⟨hal-01003371⟩
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