The purpose of this .qualitative research project was to .examine how students engage in writing and what process they use to write. Research that studied traditional ' and contemporary methods of writing instruction and practice. Differences between the traditional method of writing and more contemporary versions center around where and how the processes of writing take place and how those processes function (Calkins, 1986, 15).
The study was conducted from September, 1995 to December, 1995. The study took place in a large rural high school and involved sophomore and junior level students. Qualitative research was us~d to investigate student writing in the language arts classroom. Direct observation, informal interviews and analysis of student writing were the qualitative methods used to collect data. Research questions addressed ways students engage in writing activities, what process they use to write, and what attitudes and perceptions students have about writing. The majority of the students that I observed and interviewed used the traditional method of writing. These students seemed to have . . problems composing as well as reworking their compositions. The students answers demonstrated cognitive skills for writing, however, their affective perceptions about writing were generally negative. Students affective or emotional views about their writing skills or writing in general possibly affected their ability to write.
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