When asked about early writing experiences in school, many adults have memories of writing papers on topics such as “What I Want to Learn in School This Year” or “My Favorite Trip.” The teacher probably thought that if the topic was of interest to her students, they would become motivated to write. In essence, the purpose for writing most often comes from the teacher, and not the students. Rarely are students allowed to choose their own topics for writing assignments. The focus of writing instruction is usually, therefore, is teacher-centered rather than child-centered. It has historically been the child's task to ascertain just what the teacher wants in a writing piece.
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Buchanan, K. P. (2001). Self-Selected vs. Assigned Writing Topics: The Effects Topics Have on First Graders' Writing Performance. Perspectives In Learning, 2 (1). Retrieved from http://csuepress.columbusstate.edu/pil/vol2/iss1/10