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From Comp to Chem Composition Classes as Preparation for Writing in the Disciplines and Professions Barbara E. Walvoord, Ph.D. Professor Emerita, University.

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Presentation on theme: "From Comp to Chem Composition Classes as Preparation for Writing in the Disciplines and Professions Barbara E. Walvoord, Ph.D. Professor Emerita, University."— Presentation transcript:

1 From Comp to Chem Composition Classes as Preparation for Writing in the Disciplines and Professions Barbara E. Walvoord, Ph.D. Professor Emerita, University of Notre Dame

2 Outline of the Presentation From Comp to Chem Barbara Walvoord 1.What IS writing in the disciplines/ professions? 2. What the composition course CANNOT Do 3. What the Composition Course CAN Do

3 1. What IS writing in the disciplines/ professions? Multiple genres flexibly adapted to varying situations and purposes Learned in context with guidance from experts Entangled with issues of power and privilege, conformity and creativity, acquiescence and resistance

4 Modes and Genres Change with Context Downs and Wardle: It is often assumed that skills or moves such as taking a position, building arguments, developing paragraphs, and writing clear and forceful sentences are general writing skills that transfer across all situations…. For example, even if all writing were about taking a position, the ways of doing so vary radically across disciplines, and therefore can only meaningfully be taught within a discipline. (19. See also Odell.)

5 Multiple Genres and Mutt Genres Wardle points to the mutt genres of composition, but mutt genres also exist in other disciplines. My study of 66 highly-effective faculty teaching college introductory religion courses in public and private institutions: MANY kinds of assignments, with multiple variations. Students needed not a set formula but the ability to analyze the assignment.

6 College Assignments Vary Widely More than anything else, the information provided by survey research [on the kinds of writing assigned in college] indicates that typical college graduates must be able to write effectively in many different kinds of situationsto many different kinds of readersin many forms of communication. (Anderson 76)

7 The World is Changing Literate ability at the end of the twentieth century may be best measured as a persons capacity to amalgamate new reading and writing practices in response to rapid social change. (Brandt 70)

8 Need for Critical Literacy [Some] contemporary theorists of genre argue for a critical approach, [asking] how genres relate to the distribution of power in society…. (Herrington and Moran 13)

9 1. What IS writing in the disciplines/ professions? Summary Multiple genres flexibly adapted to varying situations and purposes Learned in context with guidance from experts Entangled with issues of power and privilege, conformity and creativity, acquiescence and resistance

10 Outline of the Presentation From Comp to Chem Barbara Walvoord 1.What IS writing in the disciplines/ professions? 2. What the composition course CANNOT do 3. What the composition course CAN do

11 2. Comp Instructors CANNOT Teach students to write in genres unfamiliar to the instructor (e.g. the science report) Create a disciplinary or professional discourse community for those unfamiliar genres Automatically assume that students will transfer their writing knowledge/skills across disciplines (Downs and Wardle; Beaufort)

12 Outline of the Presentation From Comp to Chem Barbara Walvoord 1.What IS writing in the disciplines/ professions? 2. What the composition course CANNOT Do 3. What the Composition Course CAN Do

13 3. What Composition Courses CAN Do Useful Analogy: The Cross-Cultural Communication course for students planning to study in various countries or cultures Taught how to think about cultures Taught how to move into a strange culture, figure it out quickly, and function effectively – Strategies for learning a new culture: set goals, ask questions, reflect on your experiences, use key concepts to interpret what you see – Common difficulties (homesickness, hypervigilance) and how to overcome them Choose stances of critique, resistance, acceptance, inquiry Practice and feedback with sub-cultures around the college Got students excited, helped them form community Modeling by an instructor who had studied and taught abroad

14 3. What Composition Courses CAN Do: Recent proposals by Beaufort, Downs and Wardle, Wardle Rightly focus on teaching rhetorical analysis: Teach what we knowrhetorical analysis, research on writing Teach concepts such as genre and discourse community Teach metacognition Practice analyzing various genres and social situations Conduct students own research on writing

15 3. What Composition Courses CAN Do: My proposal build on these, but also tries to do 4 things: 1. Accommodate and capitalize on the enormous range of comp instructors – Fields of expertise, including literary analysis, rhetoric, journalism, and the home disciplines of instructors teaching writing-intensive first-year seminars that may replace or link with comp – Position in the debates about teaching personal essay, expressive writing, transactional writing, literature, and about teaching for personal development, civic engagement, academic/professional competence, etc.

16 3. What Composition Courses CAN Do: 2. Focus on the motivation, confidence, and engagement that research demonstrates is critical to learning of any kind 3. Enable students critical, self-critical, and resistant stances 4. Include attention to mastery of Edited Standard Written English (ESWE) and critique of its social role

17 I Propose: Teach any Genre, Read any Material, but Teach for Transfer, Using MMAPP M: Motivation, engagement, and confidence M: Metacognition: How to monitor ones own learning and progress A: Analysis of audience, situation, and genre in different contexts; insight into power relations in the context P: Professional presentation, including Edited Standard Written English, citation conventions P: Processes adaptable for writing in different situations

18 M: Motivation, Engagement, Confidence Summary of research on college learning by Pascarella and Terenzini: The greater a students engagement in academic work or in the academic experience of college, the greater his or her level of knowledge acquisition and general cognitive growth. (608)

19 M: Motivation, Engagement, Confidence People are motivated when: – The task is not too hard, not too easy – They can see the tasks usefulness and benefits to them – They can see how the task relates to what they already know and value – The environment seems fair, safe, supportive

20 M: Motivation, Engagement, Confidence Motivation is not fixed Students can become more motivated by what happens in the class Action influences belief, as belief influences action. Students can learn to enhance their own motivation and engagement

21 Svinickis Amalgamated Model of Motivation Motivation toward a goal is influenced by the Learners Goal Orientation The value of the goal, affected by: Perceived needs Difficulty of Goal Intrinsic qualities of goal Prior experience with goal Utility of goal The learners expectation that the goal can be achieved, affected by: Match with learner skills Control and choice Encouragement/example of others Influence of others Self-efficacy with respect to this goal Attributions about success & failure Beliefs/attitudes about learning (146)

22 M: Metacognition Definition: Thinking about thinking Involves attention to high-level questions as one writes. For example: – How is this task similar to others? – How does this task relate to larger goals? – What strategies am I using, and how useful are they? (Beaufort 154)

23 A: Analysis of Audience, Situation, Genre Teach concepts and strategies for analyzing writing in ANY situation Teach students how to apply the concepts and strategies as they write in the genres for which the instructor is expert: rhetorical studies, literary analysis, etc. Help students conduct research on writing in various situations, e.g. science, business

24 A: Analysis of Audience, Situation, Genre How to analyze a school assignment: what questions to ask How to ask questions of instructor/TA, other experts

25 P: Professional Presentation (including Edited Written Standard English: ESWE) How do Students Learn ESWE? NOT by drill unconnected to their own writing NOT by teachers marking every departure from ESWE BUT by – Reading – Sentence-building practice – Revising and editing their own writing

26 P: Professional Presentation (including Edited Written Standard English: ESWE) Establish an understanding of language Concept of code switching Power issues around standard language

27 P: Professional Presentation (including Edited Written Standard English: ESWE) Kolln: Too often the grammar lessons that manage to find their way into the writing classroom are introduced for remedial purposes: to fix comma splices and misplaced modifiers and agreement errors and such… As a consequence, the study of grammar has come to have strictly negative, remedial associationsa Band-Aid for weak and inexperienced writers, rather than a rhetorical tool that all writers should understand and control. (cont….)

28 P: Professional Presentation (including Edited Written Standard English: ESWE) [On the contrary a rhetorical view of grammar holds that] an understanding of grammar is an important tool for the writers; that is can be taught and learned successfully if it is done in the right way and in the right place, in connection with composition. (cont.)

29 P: Professional Presentation (including Edited Written Standard English: ESWE) [Rhetorical grammar] can also stimulate class discussion on such issues as sentence focus and rhythm, cohesion, reader expectation, paraphrase, dictions, revision discussions of rhetorical and stylistic issues that will be meaningful throughout the writing process. And the students will learn to apply these grammar concepts to their own writing. (cont.)

30 P: Professional Presentation (including Edited Written Standard English: ESWE) This is the kind of knowledgethis toolkit of conscious grammar understandingthat will support not only their academic career but their lifelong literacy as well. (xii)

31 P: Professional Presentation (including use and citation of sources; plagiarism) Teach the principles and purposes of citation and how to figure out citation requirements in any field

32 P: Processes Writing processes are keys to success Effective processes may differ by situation or by the writers own ways of working Teach key concepts – Most writing is the product of revision – Professional presentation (ESWE, citation) is often very important and it takes time – How to address difficulties such as procrastination, writers block

33 P: Processes Practice and feedback in shaping writing processes for various situations

34 Summary: I Propose Teach any Genre, Read any Material, but Teach for Transfer, Using MMAPP M: Motivation, engagement, and confidence M: Metacognition: How to monitor ones own learning and progress A: Analysis of audience, situation, and genre in different contexts; insight into power relations in the context P: Professional presentation, including Edited Standard Written English, citation conventions P: Processes adaptable for writing in different situations

35 MMAPP: Motivation, Metacognition, Analysis, Professional Presentation, Processes How would you teach a course following MMAPP? Suggestions

36 MMAPP: Motivation, Metacognition, Analysis, Professional Presentation, Processes Suggestions for all MMAPP: MMAPP is your goal. You cannot cover large amounts of stuff.

37 MMAPP: Motivation, Metacognition, Analysis, Professional Presentation, Processes Suggestions Build trust, community Use approaches and strategies from Parker Palmer, The Courage to Teach and Stephen Brookfield, The Skillful Teacher

38 MMAPP: Motivation, Metacognition, Analysis, Professional Presentation, Processes Suggestions With your students, as outsiders and as rhetoricians, explore the literature on engagement, self-efficacy, and motivation. As you do, teach concepts of genre. For example, examine a popular article and a scholarly journal article on engagement or self- efficacy.

39 MMAPP: Motivation, Metacognition, Analysis, Professional Presentation, Processes Suggestions Discuss how students can build their own motivation and engagement. Have them write about a course where their motivation increased, and why--what THEY did, as well as what the teacher did, emphasizing THEIR self-efficacy. Ask them to discuss/write how they intend to stay motivated and engaged in this course, and what they plan to do if their motivation decreases.

40 MMAPP: Motivation, Metacognition, Analysis, Professional Presentation, Processes Suggestions Teach the writers autobiography to encourage engagement and to illustrate a genre Use reflective and expressive writing, both public and private: journals; blog or discussion board posts. Teach any of these as a genre.

41 MMAPP: Motivation, Metacognition, Analysis, Professional Presentation, Processes Suggestions Have students articulate their goals Ask, what do you want to learn in this course? What strategies will you use? Review goals and strategies at intervals Cover sheet to every writing assignment: How has this assignment helped me develop as a writer? How is this type of writing similar or different from others? What worked? What would I do differently?

42 MMAPP: Motivation, Metacognition, Analysis, Professional Presentation, Processes Suggestions Bring in a speaker or ask each student to interview a co- worker or someone employed in a field that interests them. Ask: How much time do you spend writing or preparing to write (including online writing, spreadsheets, multi-media)? What writing do you care about the most, and why? What does your writing accomplish for you personally and professionally? Do you ever engage in writing that makes you feel uncomfortable for any reason? If you could change anything about the writing that goes on in your profession or your own job, what would it be? What advice would you give to a student enrolled in a writing course?

43 MMAPP: Motivation, Metacognition, Analysis, Professional Presentation, Processes Suggestions: Keep a log: Each time you work on the paper, write What I did today, what problems I encountered, how I tried to solve them, what I plan to do next. Before and/or after peer review, have the writer tell Where I am on this paper, what are my major problems, what I think I should do next

44 MMAPP: Motivation, Metacognition, Analysis, Professional Presentation, Processes Suggestions: Compare and contrast one genre to others Literary analysis to an online review of software product Research on writing to research report in chemistry or any other field Any paper in comp to papers students are writing or have written for other classes

45 MMAPP: Motivation, Metacognition, Analysis, Professional Presentation, Processes Compare and contrast the current genre to others Ask: How are these writings different or similar in – Audience – Purpose – Opening – Closing – Content – Use and citation of information from other sources. Plagiarism – How claims are made and supported – Organization – Sentence length and structure – Diction, tone, ethos, use of imagery

46 MMAPP: Motivation, Metacognition, Analysis, Professional Presentation, Processes Suggestions: Distinguish between formal and informal writing Set standards for ESWE Offer help and support for ESWE Ask students to write dialogue in a form of nonstandard English, then reflect how it felt to try to learn an unfamiliar form of English Ask students to teach their home forms to others. How would this be said in my home? How would it be said in a business/academic situation? Ask students to write How I think about standard English

47 MMAPP: Motivation, Metacognition, Analysis, Professional Presentation, Processes Suggestions Discuss published accounts and studies of writing processes Have students write and/or interview one another about their writing processes. Teach the interview as a genre and as an information source Report, compare, discuss students own varied processes for different types of writing

48 Other ideas can be adapted from Course outlines in Beaufort, Appendix A, pp. 177-206 Downs and Wardle Lauerman, Schroeder, Sroka, and Stephenson Wardle

49 SUMMARY: What will students need for writing in the disciplines and professions? MMAPP: Five Learning Outcomes M: Motivation, engagement, and confidence M: Metacognition: How to monitor their own learning and progress A: Analysis of audience, situation, and genre variations in different situations P: Processes for writing in different situations P: Professional presentation, including Edited Standard Written English (ESWE) and citation of sources

50 Works Cited Anderson, Paul V. What Survey Research Tells Us about Writing at Work. Writing in Nonacademic Settings. Ed. Lee Odell and Dixie Goswami. New York: Guilford Press, 1985. 3-83. Print. Beaufort, Anne. College Writing and Beyond. Logan, UT: Utah State UP, 2007. Print. Brandt, Deborah. Literacy and Learning: Reflections on Writing, Reading, and Society. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2009. Print. Brookfield, Stephen. The Skillful Teacher. 2 nd ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2006. Print. Downs, Douglas, and Elizabeth Wardle. Teaching about Writing, Righting Misconceptions: (Re)Envisioning First-year Composition as Introduction to Writing Studies. College Composition and Communication 58.4 (2007): 552-87. Print. Herrington, Anne and Charles Moran. The Idea of Genre in Theory and Practice. Genre Across the Curriculum. Ed. Anne Herrington and Charles Moran. Logan, UT: Utah State UP, 2005. 1-18. Print. Kolln, Martha. Preface. Rhetorical Grammar: Grammatical Choices, Rhetorical Effects. By Kolln. 5 th ed. New York: Pearson Education, 2007. Print. Lauerman, David A., Melvin W. Schroeder, Kenneth Sroka, and E. Roger Stephenson. Workplace and Classroom: Principles for Designing Writing Courses. Writing in Nonacademic Settings. Ed. Lee Odell and Dixie Goswami. New York: Guilford, 1985. 427-50. Print. Odell, Lee. Context-Specific Ways of Knowing and the Evaluation of Writing. Writing, Teaching, and Learning in the Disciplines. Ed. Anne Herrington and Charles Moran. New York: Modern Language Assn., 1992. 86-98. Print. Palmer, Parker. The Courage to Teach. 10 th anniversary ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2007. Print. Pascarella, Ernest T., and Patrick T. Terenzini. How College Affects Students. Vol. 2: A Third Decade of Research. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2005. Print. Svinicki, Marilla D. Learning and Motivation in the Postsecondary Classroom. Bolton, MA: Anker, 2004. Print. Walvoord. Barbara E. Teaching and Learning in College Introductory Religion Courses. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2008. Print. Wardle, Elizabeth. Mutt Genres and the Goal of FYC: Can We Help Students Write the Genres of the University? College Composition and Communication 60.4 (2009): 765-90. Print.


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