In September 2007, the Ontario Ministry of Education introduced a new curriculum for the English program. Previous blogs on this site have explored the changes to and expectations of two of the four strands in the program: Reading and Literature Studies and Oral Communication. This blog will focus on the Writing strand of the compulsory English curriculum as it is set for students in grade 9, 10, 11 and 12.
According to the Ministry’s documents, the driving force of the new Writing strand is a focus on the elements of effective writing as well as the stages of the recursive writing process. The courses are intended to develop knowledge and understanding of successful organization of content, voice, vocabulary, sentence fluency, language conventions, presentation, structure, and forms in writing. Students learn to see writing as a process, one that involves planning, drafting, revising, editing, proofreading and publishing.
The overall expectations for the English program require that students demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of writing through application and reflection – for example, after writing a first draft of an essay, a student should use editing and proofreading skills and strategies as well as knowledge of language conventions to correct errors, refine expressions and organize their work effectively. Similarly, they should reflect on and identify their strengths, areas for improvement, and the strategies they found most helpful at different stages in the writing process.
The objectives set out for the Writing strand encourage students to become “confident writers and researchers who can communicate competently using a range of forms and styles to suit specific purposes and audiences and correctly applying the conventions of language – grammar, usage, spelling, and punctuation”. In learning to understand and approach writing as a process, students will develop the ability to think and write clearly and effectively.