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Issues in Educational Research, 2021, Vol 31(4), 1138-1155.
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Teachers' perceptions of the impact of COVID-19 on writing instruction in Australia

Margaret K. Merga
University of Newcastle, Australia

Anabela Malpique
Murdoch University, Australia

Saiyidi Mat Roni
Edith Cowan University, Australia

Debora Valcan
Murdoch University, Australia

Susan Ledger
University of Newcastle, Australia

Education interruption can influence educational outcomes for students, particularly those already experiencing disadvantage. Little is known about how education interruption caused by COVID-19 has influenced the literacy learning of Australian students. This article provides insights into the impact of COVID-19 related education interruption on writing instruction of primary school aged children from the perspectives of their teachers. Drawing on data from a single-stage mixed-methods survey tool, it explores extent of perception of an impact of COVID-19 writing instruction in Australia, as well as capturing data on the nature of this perceived impact. As expected, the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on writing instruction in the majority of cases, with impact typically perceived to be negative, though for some respondents, an unexpected benefit of the disruption was the collaborative response of educators and education systems. The diverse facets of the nature of this perceived impact were identified by respondents, some of which were related to context and home affordances, with findings highlighting how uneven levels of parental and technological resourcing at home can support or impede student learning of writing skills. The findings can be drawn upon to mitigate barriers to the teaching of writing during times of education interruption.
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Authors: Dr Margaret K. Merga (corresponding author) is currently an Honorary Adjunct with the School of Education, University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Margaret has conducted numerous research projects in literacy, librarianship, higher education, thesis by publication, and research communication. She has published three books on reading engagement, school library staff as literacy advocates, and research methods. Her upcoming book explores the role of school libraries in promoting student wellbeing.
Email: margaret.merga@newcastle.edu.au

Dr Anabela Malpique is a senior lecturer in the College of Science, Health, Engineering and Education, Murdoch University, Western Australia. Her research interests focus on literacy development, particularly in writing development and instruction. She is leading the Writing for All initiative aiming to expand knowledge on individual and contextual-level factors explaining writing development from early-childhood till late adulthood. Her research involves typically developing writers in primary and secondary schools.
Email: a.malpique@murdoch.edu.au

Dr Saiyidi Mat Roni is an academic in the School of Business and Law, Edith Cowan University, Western Australia. He is lead author of two books in statistics published by Springer. His data analysis skills have been employed across disciplines in diverse research publications, and he is an established consultant in statistics for research in Education.
Email: mohd.matroni@ecu.edu.au

Dr Debora Valcan is an Associate Lecturer in Psychology and an Associate Researcher in Education at Murdoch University, Western Australia. Her research focuses on the early development of executive functioning; the family factors that support or hinder this development; and the relations between children's executive functioning, self-regulated learning and academic achievement.
Email: d.valcan@murdoch.edu.au

Professor Susan Ledger, School of Education, University of Newcastle, Australia, is an advocate for the teaching profession. She explores education policies and practices related to teaching diverse students in diverse contexts. Her broad experiential base in rural, remote and international contexts informs her belief that all educators need to be confident teachers of literacy and language acquisition.
Email: susan.ledger@newcastle.edu.au

Please cite as: Merga, M. K., Malpique, A., Mat Roni, S., Valcan, D. & Ledger, S. (2021). Teachers' perceptions of the impact of COVID-19 on writing instruction in Australia. Issues in Educational Research, 31(4), 1138-1155. http://www.iier.org.au/iier31/merga.pdf

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Created 15 December 2021. Last correction: 15 December 2021. Website: Roger Atkinson [rjatkinson@bigpond.com]