|University of British Columbia
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This thesis was designed to identify teachers’ perceptions of the reasons for student learning differences regarding essay writing output difficulties, with the aim of proposing resolutions and strategies for overcoming them. The thesis first reviewed previous writing instruction methods exploring common difficulties learners, especially those with learning differences, experience mastering formal written essay expression. Second, the thesis reviewed seventeen writing interventions with measured efficacy, grouping them as effective, non-effective, and in the case of two interventions, non-measured strategies. Third, the thesis addressed reasons for researching writing instruction in a large school district in British Columbia, the North Vancouver School Board, in order to compare similarities and contrasts to instructional practices found in other educational jurisdictions identified in the reviewed literature. In facilitating this research, expert answers were sought from four North Vancouver secondary school teachers identifying 'best practices' of teaching writing to students. The research results showed that common themes across teachers’ responses were in the areas of modeling writing, community of learners, student autonomy, affect and writing, differentiated learning, rubric use, portfolios and specific authors and titles in film, novels, poetry, drama and internet blogs. The findings revealed overlaps and differences in approaches to writing instruction compared to the literature reviewed and the author's personal writing instruction experiences.