Participatory roles adopted by elementary students when writing collaboratively in environmental and social studies classrooms


  • Anne-Elina Salo University of Turku
  • Sara Routarinne University of Turku
  • Riitta Juvonen University of Helsinki
  • Arja Kaasinen University of Helsinki



collaborative writing, environmental and social studies, participatory roles, elementary students


Much attention has been paid to the complexity underlying writing, but the versatile roles  that  collaborative  writing  can  encourage  in  elementary  students  remain  scarcely  understood.  In  this  exploratory  study,  we  developed  a  framework  for  observing  the  participatory  roles  that  elementary  students  spontaneously  adopt  as  they  engage  in  collaborative  writing  in  environmental  and  social  studies  classrooms.  To  concretize  the  applicability of the framework, we illustrate how five students shift between the roles across task  types.  We  identified  18  participatory  roles  and  allocated  them  into  six  categories:  content-,  literacy-,  performance-,  process-focused,  expressive,  and  off-task  roles.  While  these  generally  align  with  previous  research  on  participatory  roles,  literacy-focused  and  expressive  role  categories  emerged  as  new  data-driven  findings.  The  concrete  examples  provided for illustrating how these roles are reflected when students engage in collaborative writing deepen the understanding of the variety and flexibility in roles adopted across the students  and  task  types.  We  expect  the  framework  to  be  beneficial  for  both  teachers  and  researchers,  to  observe  how  flexibly  students  adopt  roles  from  different  categories  when  writing  collaboratively.  This  can  provide  insights  into  designing  instruction  and  selecting  task types to effectively promote flexible and meaningful participation among all students when writing collaboratively in subject-area classrooms.


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How to Cite

Salo, A.-E., Routarinne, S., Juvonen, R., & Kaasinen, A. . (2023). Participatory roles adopted by elementary students when writing collaboratively in environmental and social studies classrooms. Journal of Writing Research, 15(1), 73–103.




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