Primary grade teachers' theoretical orientations concerning writing instruction: Construct validation and a nationwide survey

Steve Graham, Karen R. Harris, Charles MacArthur, Barbara Fink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Scopus citations


Teachers' practices are directly tied to their beliefs or theories about instruction. The purpose of the present study was to develop an instrument to measure primary grade teachers' theoretical orientations about writing instruction, provide construct validation for this instrument, and describe teachers' beliefs about writing instruction in the early grades. Factor analysis of responses from a nationwide sample of primary grade teachers yielded three distinct dimensions, measuring beliefs about the role of explicit instruction, correctness in students' writing, and natural learning methods. The validity of the instrument was supported by findings showing that teachers' orientations were related to classroom writing practices in a predictable and reliable manner. Finally, most of the participating teachers emphasized both explicit instruction as well as incidental and informal methods of learning (i.e., the natural learning) in their theory of writing instruction for young children, while downplaying the importance of correctness in writing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number91085
Pages (from-to)147-166
Number of pages20
JournalContemporary Educational Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Cite this