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

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

Three types of activity easily integrate into witing-intensive courses. First are the ones activities which focus only regarding the CONTENT, such as for example lectures and discussions of texts. Second are activities related solely to WRITING as separate from the content concerns of the course. Grammar drills or sentence combining exercises fall into this category, but so would lecturing on writing in general or examining types of good writing regardless of this content. 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 that are chosen for both the quality associated with the writing additionally the worth of this content. The following suggestions are intended to show how writing may be taught not only as a skill that is mechanicalthrough sentence and paragraph modeling), nor merely whilst the display of data (by concentrating solely on content), but as a generative intellectual activity in its own right. These are typically centered on three premises:

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

that astute readers attend to the structure regarding the text in order to find that analyzing the author’s choices at specific junctures gives them a surer, more grasp that is detailed of;

that students can give their writing more focus and direction 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 means of creating context–as these are illustrated in texts, lectures, and student papers–is an effective way of teaching writing.

Summary and Analysis Exercises

A) Have students write a 500-word summary of approximately 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 could it be constructed? What has the author done to make the right parts add up to a disagreement?

C) Analyze a particularly complex paragraph from a text. How is it put together? What gives it unity? What role does it play when you look at the chapter that is entire part of text?

Organizational Pattern Work

A) Scramble a paragraph and inquire students: 1) to put it together; 2) to touch upon the mental processes involved in the restoration, the decisions about continuity that they had to make according to their sense of the author’s thinking.

B) Have students find various kinds sentences in a text, and explain exactly, into the terms and spirit of this text, what these sentences are meant to do: juxtapose, equate, polarize, rank, distinguish, make exceptions, concede, contrast. Often, needless to say, sentences is going to do a couple of of the things at once.

C) Have students examine an author’s punctuation and explain, again in regards to 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 just how these choices play a role in achieving the writer’s purpose.

Formulation of Questions and Acceptability of Evidence

A) What can be treated as known? What is acceptable means of ruling cases in or out?

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

C) Examine cause and effect; condition and result; argumentative strategies, such as comparison-contrast, and agency (especially the utilization 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 goal of such activities would be to have students read one another’s writing and develop their particular critical faculties, with them to help the other person boost their writing. Peer critiquing and discussion help students understand how their own writing compares with this of their peers and helps them discover the characteristics that distinguish writing that is successful. It is critical to keep in mind that an instructor criticizing a text for a course just isn’t peer critiquing; because of this will not provide the students practice in exercising their own skills that are critical. Below are a few types of different ways this is often handled, and we also encourage you to modify these to fit your own purposes.

A) The Small Groups Model–The class is divided in to three groups of five students each. Each week the student submits six copies of his or her paper, one for the instructor and something for each person in her group. One hour per week is devoted to group meetings for which some or every one of the papers into the group are discussed. Before this combined group meeting, students must read all of the papers from their group and must write comments to be shared with one other writers. Thus, weekly writing, reading and critiquing are part of the course, and students develop skills through repeated practice that they could be not able to develop if only asked to critique on three to four occasions. Because the teacher is present with each group, they might lead the discussion to simply help students improve these skills that are critical.

B) The Pairs Model–Students can be paired off to see and comment on each other’s writing so that each student will get written comments in one other student along with the teacher. The teacher can, of course, check out the critical comments along with the paper to assist students develop both writing and skills that are critical. This method requires no special copying and need take very little classroom time. The teacher may wish to allow some time for the pairs to discuss one another’s work, or this might be done not in the class. The disadvantage of the method is the fact that the trained teacher cannot guide the discussions and students are restricted to comments from only 1 of the peers.

C) Small Groups within Class–Many teachers break their classes into small groups (from 3 to 7 students) and permit 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 Revision–Many teachers combine peer critiquing with required revisions to show students how to improve not merely their mechanical skills, but in addition their thinking skills. Students could have critical comments from their-teachers as well as from their peers to do business with. Some teachers choose to have students revise a first draft with only comments from their peers and then revise a moment time on the basis of the teacher’s comments.

E) Student Critiques–Students must certanly be taught simple tips to critique each other’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 couple of questions or guidelines general enough to be applicable to virtually any writing a student might do. The questions concentrate on such staples of rhetoric as audience, voice and purpose; in philosophy, they might guide the student to examine the logic or structure of an argument in English classes.

2) Assignment Critique Form–This is a set of questions designed specifically for a particular writing task. Such an application gets the advantageous asset of making students attend to the aspects that are special towards 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 would rather teach their students to create a “descriptive outline.” The student reads the paper and stops to write after every section or paragraph, recording what he or she 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 by itself is of value, teachers need not grade all writing instance that is assignments–for, exploratory writing, and early drafts of more formal pieces. Teachers can make many comments on such writing to help students further their thinking but may wait for an even more finished, formal product before assigning grades.

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