Video exerts a considerable influence over students' lives. Educators today face a visual generation who seem to have a natural interest in viewing videotapes. This qualitative study looks at the influence of viewing videotapes on student writing in a seventh-grade English classroom. It is based on the conceptual framework of studies done by Barron et al. (1989) which suggest that video provides a meaningful context in which students can learn. It is also based on work done by Gallagher (1988) suggesting that basic kinds of writing can be modeled and practiced with the use of video, and on the theories of Agosta (1991), Blau and Nathanson (1992) that active student viewing of video is insured when specific student assignments which will be evaluated are provided by the teacher. I used observation, class surveys, student evaluations, and artifacts of student work in this inquiry. I found that in one nine-week quarter during which I used videotapes to generate writing instruction and assignments for 28 seventh-grade English students, 21 students raised their English grades from the previous quarter and every student earned a C or above for a final quarter grade. Additionally, all of the students completed all the writing assignments given during the quarter and demonstrated proficiency in t heir writing skills . Two-thirds of the students indicated that they both preferred and enjoyed writing after seeing videos. This study indicates that videotapes used in conjunction with writing assignments pan have a beneficial influence on student writing skills and on student classroom success.
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