Why this principal has implemented Writer’s Toolbox in three schools - Education Matters Magazine
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Why this principal has implemented Writer’s Toolbox in three schools

Eumundi State School, situated on Australia’s Sunshine Coast, with a roll of around 650 students, is the third school in which principal Anthony Swan has implemented the Writer’s Toolbox program.

And each school has achieved significant lift in writing outcomes.

When Swan arrived at Eumundi, improving student writing outcomes was one of his top three goals for the year.

He started by introducing all Eumundi staff to the Writer’s Toolbox approach and the 12 Sentence Styles.

Then, Swan took six staff members to a Writer’s Toolbox 2-Day Teacher Writing Conference led by founder Dr Ian Hunter. Those six staff became the early adopters; they “built the capacity of all our staff on the skills we use to make writing enjoyable to read.”

Swan knows that lifting teacher skills and practice has a long-term impact in the classroom and has been impressed by the authentic knowledge transfer that occurs in the professional development phase of the Writer’s Toolbox program.

“One of the best moments is when you expose teachers to Writer’s Toolbox and the ease of embedding it—they get that ‘aha’ moment. That moment where they say: this just makes sense,” Swan said.

He is equally clear how evidence of increased school performance with Writer’s Toolbox gave him the confidence to implement the system in three schools.

“It’s those simple, explicit, research-based skills that Writer’s Toolbox delivers,” he said.

“And unless there is research to show it actually lifts student writing outcomes, I wouldn’t implement it. That gives confidence to my teachers to teach those skills.”

Watching students interact with Writer’s Toolbox, Swan sees how driven they are.

“Students love the instant feedback they’re getting to improve their writing. Especially boys. When they see their feedback, they’re comparing and competing with their friends, asking, ‘How did you get that score?’ It motivates them.”

Eumundi teachers are delighted with the clarity and assistance Writer’s Toolbox provides, and teachers easily see how each student is progressing.

Instant feedback also motivates students and pushes them to continually improve their writing, saving teacher marking time.

Paul Midgley agrees the feedback feature is a powerful tool for both students and teachers.

“Feedback on writing is typically a difficult aspect of teaching,” Midgely said.

“With students able to get instant feedback through Writer’s Toolbox, they don’t need to wait for a teacher to become available. Writer’s Toolbox is helping to create independent, self-managed learners.”

Read more stories of success from the award-winning Writer’s Toolbox.

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