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Manchester Institute of Education

Language and communication

Organiser: Richard Fay


Process writing project

The Process Writing Project supports teachers in using process approaches for teaching writing so that students can learn the writing skills they need for academic and real-world success. The project is currently funded by Cambridge University Press and directed by John Keen (, Senior Lecturer in Education at The University of Manchester, UK.

Teachers in the project agree to carry out one or more schemes of learning based on process writing principles and to share what they learn with other colleagues.

In process writing, composition consists of recursive, overlapping processes and sub-processes, including:

  • prewriting and exploring
  • drafting and revising
  • sharing and celebrating

There is evidence, particularly from research in the United States where process approaches to teaching writing in schools are more common than in the UK, that greater emphasis on processes in writing composition is associated with higher levels of writing proficiency.

Some key features of process approaches to teaching writing are:

  1. Process writing schemes of learning try as far as possible to start with and to follow the development of students’ own experiences and ideas.
  2. Prewriting and exploring can include a wide range of activities that enable students to draw on prior knowledge and experience.
  3. In process schemes of learning an initial draft is treated as a first provisional attempt in which shortcomings, inconsistencies and infelicities are expected.
  4. Revision of any aspect of the writing may follow reflection by the writer, perhaps drawing on discussion with or feedback from a teacher, classmates or others.
  5. In process terms, revision is normally distinguished from editing and proofreading.
  6. Sharing and celebrating students’ writing regularly can help them to develop a nuanced sense of audience and feed back into their continued development as writers.

An example of an entry-level scheme of learning developed on the Process Writing Project is:

Process writing scheme of learning on fireworks

  • Prewriting and exploring:  Students discuss their prior experience of fireworks, including public displays and neighbourhood or family events.
  • Drafting and revising:  Students write their first draft accounts of a fireworks display then revise their drafts to make them even more effective, perhaps after students have shared outstanding features of each other’s accounts.
  • Sharing and celebrating:  Students read aloud selections from their accounts against the background of a clip of a fireworks display shown on the whiteboard.

If you would like further information, including examples of schemes of learning carried out by project participants, please send your name, email address and the name and address of your school or college to the Project Director, John Keen (

Useful downloads

Process writing schemes

Participating schools and colleges

Financial literacy education project

Funder: ifs School of Finance
PI: Pauline Davis
Duration: 2004-2007

For some years, successive governments and employers have expressed concern about levels of financial literacy. As the need for improving financial literacy among UK youths has gained currency, many have begun to raise the question - will education improve young people's knowledge about finance and, moreover, will that knowledge 'translate into more effective consumer behaviours?' (Tennyson & Nguyen, 20011)

Our research focused on the personal financial management practices and related aspirations of sixteen to eighteen year old students taking the ifs School of Finance courses. A mixed methods longitudinal survey design is employed, which combines a repeated questionnaire survey with in-depth qualitative interviews with students in clusters of case study institutions. Our analysis draws on advanced statistical techniques and a sociocultural theoretical framework.

The research questions were:

  1. What are students' personal financial management practices and their aspirations? And,
  2. How do their personal financial management practices and aspirations vary over time?

Selected papers that have been presented:

  • Addressing Economic Inequality through Financial Capability Education: Is there Evidence of Empowerment? American Educational Research Association, New York, NY, March 2008
  • Are Financial Discourses Gendered? Explorations of Men and Women's Sense Making of Personal Finance; American Educational Research Association conference, April 9-13 2007, Chicago, IL, USA
  • Analysing the changes in repeated measures responses in financial literacy education; American Statistical Association, Joint Statistical Meetings 2007, Salt Lake City, UT, USA
  • Students' Personal Financial Management: Changes in Identity and Practice; British Educational Research Association conference, September 2007, London, England
  • The influence of financial literacy education on students' personal financial management, career and education aspirations; American Educational Research Association conference, April 10-12 2006, Chicago, IL, USA

Briefing report (PDF, 46KB)

1Tennyson, S. & Nguyen, C. (2001). State curriculum mandates and student knowledge of personal finance. The Journal of Consumer Affairs, 35 (2), 241-262.