6 Sep

The Skidmore College Expository Writing Network. Approaches for a Writing-Intensive Instruction

The Skidmore College Expository Writing Network. Approaches for a Writing-Intensive Instruction

Three types of activity easily integrate into witing-intensive courses. First are those activities which focus only on the CONTENT, such as for instance lectures and discussions of texts. Second are activities related solely to WRITING as separate from the content concerns regarding the course. Grammar drills or sentence exercises that are combining into this category, but so would lecturing on writing in general or examining different types of good writing without reference to the information. Third are activities which teach BOTH WRITING AND CONTENT. Peer critiquing, journal writing, and group brainstorming teach both writing and content as does examining model essays which are chosen for both the quality regarding the writing additionally the worth of this content. The following suggestions are intended to show how writing could be taught not only as a skill that is mechanicalthrough sentence and paragraph modeling), nor merely because the display of information (by concentrating solely on content), but as a generative intellectual activity in its own right. These are generally centered on three premises:

that students can learn a great deal about themselves as writers by becoming more careful readers;

that astute readers attend to the structure associated with the text and locate that analyzing the author’s choices at specific junctures gives them a surer, more detailed grasp of content;

That students can give their writing more direction and focus by thinking about details as elements of a whole, whether that whole be a sentence, paragraph, or chapter.

Thus, awareness of a discipline’s language, methodology, formal conventions, and ways of creating context–as these are illustrated in texts, lectures, and student papers–is an way that is effective of writing.

Summary and Analysis Exercises

A) Have students write a 500-word summary of about 2000 words of text; then a 50-word summary; then a sentence summary that is single. Compare results for inclusivity, accuracy, emphasis, and nuance.

B) Analyze a text chapter or section. How will it be constructed? What has the author done to help make the Parts total up to a quarrel?

C) Analyze a particularly complex paragraph from a text. How is it put together? What gives it unity? What role does it play into the entire chapter or section of text?

Organizational Pattern Work

A) Scramble a paragraph and get students: 1) to place it together; 2) to comment on the mental processes involved when you look at the restoration, the decisions about continuity that they had to produce centered on their feeling of the author’s thinking.

B) Have students find several kinds of sentences in a text, and explain exactly, when you look at the terms and spirit of this text, what these sentences are designed to do: juxtapose, equate, polarize, rank, distinguish, make exceptions, concede, contrast. Often, needless to say, sentences can do two or more among these plain things at a time.

C) Have students examine an author’s punctuation and explain, again in terms of the argument, why, say, a semicolon was used.

D) Have students outline as a method of analyzing structure and talk about the choices a writer makes and how these choices donate to attaining the writer’s purpose.

Formulation of Questions and Acceptability of Evidence

A) exactly what do be treated as known? What exactly is acceptable procedure for ruling cases in or out?

B) Discuss how evidence is tested against an hypothesis, and how hypotheses are modified. (How models are manufactured and put on data; how observations develop into claims, etc.)

C) Examine cause and effect; condition and result; argumentative strategies, such as for example comparison-contrast, and agency (especially the employment of verbs), as basic building blocks in definition and explanation.

Peer critiquing and discussion of student writing could be handled in a number of different ways. The objective of such activities is to have students read one another’s writing and develop their particular faculties that are critical using them to simply help the other person improve their writing. Peer critiquing and discussion help students know the way their very own writing compares with that of their peers and helps them uncover the characteristics that distinguish successful writing. You should understand that an instructor criticizing a text for a course just isn’t peer critiquing; for this will not provide the students practice in exercising their particular skills that are critical. Here are some different types of various ways this can be handled, and now we encourage you to modify these to suit your purposes that are own.

A) The Small Groups Model–The class is split into three categories of five students each. Each week the student submits six copies of his / her paper, one when it comes to instructor and something for every single person in her group. 1 hour per week is specialized in group meetings for which some or all the papers into the group are discussed. Before this group meeting, students must read every one of the papers from their group and must write comments to be distributed to one other writers. Thus, weekly writing, reading and critiquing are a part of the program, and students develop skills through repeated practice which they would be unable to develop if only asked to critique on 3 or 4 occasions. As the teacher is present with every group, he or she can lead the discussion to greatly help students improve these skills that are critical.

B) The Pairs Model–Students can be paired off to read and touch upon each other’s writing such that each student will get written comments in one other student along with the teacher. The teacher can, of course, look over the critical comments as well as the paper to aid students develop both writing and critical skills. This process requires no special copying and need take very little classroom time. The teacher may wish to allow some right time for the pairs to talk about each other’s work, or this may be done outside the class. The disadvantage of this method is that the trained teacher cannot guide the discussions and students are limited by comments from only 1 of these peers.

C) Small Groups within Class–Many teachers break their classes into small groups (from 3 to 7 students) and enable class time when it comes to combined groups to critique. The teacher can circulate among groups or sit in on an entire session with one group.

D) Critiques and teachers that are revision–Many peer critiquing with required revisions to teach students just how to improve not just their mechanical skills, but additionally their thinking skills. Students could have critical comments from their-teachers as well as from their peers to work well with. Some teachers would like to have students revise a draft that is first only comments from their peers and then revise a second time based on the teacher’s comments.

E) Student Critiques–Students should be taught how exactly to critique one another’s work. Some direction while some teachers may leave the nature of the response up to the students, most try to give their students.

1) Standard Critique Form–This is a set of questions or guidelines general enough to be applicable to any writing a student might do. In English classes, the questions focus on such staples of rhetoric as audience, voice and purpose; in philosophy, they could guide the student to examine essay writer the logic or structure of an argument.

2) Assignment Critique Form–This is a set of questions designed specifically for a particular writing task. Such an application gets the benefit of making students attend to the special aspects peculiar into the given task. If students make use of them repeatedly, however, they could become dependent they critique on them, never asking their own critical questions of the texts.

3) Descriptive Outline–Instead of providing questions to direct students, some teachers choose to teach their students to write a “descriptive outline.” The student reads the paper and stops to write after each and every paragraph or section, recording what she or he thought the section said along with his or her responses or questions concerning it. The student writes his or her “summary comments” describing his or her reaction to the piece as a whole, raising questions about the writing, and perhaps making suggestions for further writing at the end.

Since writing in itself is of value, teachers do not need to grade all writing assignments–for instance journals, exploratory writing, and early drafts of more formal pieces. Teachers could make many comments on such writing to help students further their thinking but may watch for an even more finished, formal product before assigning grades.

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