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What We Talk about When We Talk about Teaching Writing Margaux Sanchez Supported by The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

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Presentation on theme: "What We Talk about When We Talk about Teaching Writing Margaux Sanchez Supported by The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning."— Presentation transcript:

1 What We Talk about When We Talk about Teaching Writing Margaux Sanchez Supported by The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning

2 What do we mean by “writing”? Writing is a means to engage in a thought process Writing is also the result of that thought process

3 Writing is a means to engage in a thought process, requiring: curiosity and openness synthesis of ideas application of philosophical and disciplinary constructs consideration of rhetorical situation: purpose, audience, medium

4 “Writing” and subject matter are inextricably linked. Writing is a means to explore and acquire disciplinary subject matter. Rhetorical skills are to be employed in service of ideas. The alternative? B.S.

5 Writing is the result of a thought process. A permanent representation of complex thought A crucial tool in academic, professional, and personal life Writing changes minds and makes things happen.

6 What are the goals of WAC and Writing at Fontbonne? Emphasize the value of writing as a means of learning, regardless of discipline Support campus-wide development of core student writing skills Support discipline-specific writing instruction

7 Writing Intensive Courses Writing Intensive courses are intended to further all of the above goals. Yes, WI courses will require that instructors “teach writing”. No, you do not need to panic.

8 What do we mean by “teaching writing”? Not about teaching grammar or providing line edits About helping students learn to recognize elements of effective writing About guiding them through a generative process likely to produce it

9 What are the elements of effective writing? (in order of importance) Focus Development Organization Style Conventions

10 Focus: Concentration or emphasis on a subject or objective. May be addressed in the following terms: objectives of assignment, thesis, argument, main point, central theme, conclusions, or recommendations.

11 Development: Support and/or elaboration of the focus. May include: explanation, description, analysis, narrative, exploration, use of source material or data, or discussion of methodology.

12 Organization: Coherent order and grouping of material. May be addressed in the following terms: overarching structure, paragraph structure, or use of transitions.

13 Style: Tone conveyed toward material and/or audience. May be addressed in the following terms: word choice, sentence structure, voice, or persona.

14 Conventions: Adherence to standards of grammar, punctuation, spelling, and discipline- specific rules of formatting and citation. For example: APA, MLA, AP Style, or other style guides.

15 What do we mean by a “writing process”? (one model) Identification of a subject Observation, research, data collection Review and synthesis of findings Drafting Feedback and consideration Revision Document preparation

16 Why introduce process into our writing assignments? As a means to focus student effort As a means to hold students accountable As a means to build effective habits of thought As a means to increase sophistication and professionalism in student writing

17 How can we build process into our writing assignments without overburdening ourselves? Think of writing assignments as long-term projects. Create preliminary deadlines with “low stakes”. Evaluate or facilitate evaluation of work in progress. Some more specific examples:

18 Ask students to select their “subject matter”, AKA: Focus of inquiry, study, observation, reflection, or critique Experimental question or hypothesis Research question or topic Interview subject

19 Ask students to document the research process. For example: Annotated bibliography List of links Lab or session notes Daily journal Interview transcript or notes Photos or video of an event Database

20 Ask students to evaluate and synthesize information before drafting, in or out of class. Outline Annotations or highlighting List of initial questions or areas of interest Initial thesis statement or statement of position Summary of initial conclusions or recommendations

21 Ask students to produce drafts in stages. Introduction workshop In-class drafting time Body paragraph or section workshop Conclusion workshop

22 Provide or organize feedback and encourage or require revision. Comments on drafts Conferences, one-on-one or in groups Peer review (online, in-class, one-on-one or in groups) (stay tuned for Session #2) Workshop discussion Guided discussion of select student work

23 Review disciplinary style guidelines and requirements. Address academic honesty and/or proper professional documentation. Suggest approaches to proofreading, for example, reading aloud. Suggest use of Kinkel Center or other outside resources (stay tuned for Session #3).

24 The basketball analogy: Writing is like playing basketball, a complex set of skills that must be developed and coordinated through practice. To learn to play basketball, you have to play basketball. If you aim to perform at the professional level, you have to practice like the pros.

25 As instructors, we are the pros, coaching novice players. We: Create gamelike conditions Motivate students to get up and play Provide constructive feedback to support learning from experience

26 By “teaching writing”, then, we have the opportunity to: Encourage students to develop – and value – their own ideas Help students internalize disciplinary standards Encourage respect for effective communication

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