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

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

Three forms of activity easily integrate into witing-intensive courses. First are the ones activities which focus only from the CONTENT, such as for example lectures and discussions of texts. Second are activities related solely to WRITING as separate through the content concerns of 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 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 of this writing while the worth of this content. The following suggestions are designed to show how writing can be taught not simply as a mechanical skill (through sentence and paragraph modeling), nor merely once the display of information (by concentrating solely on content), but as a generative intellectual activity with its own right. They are 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 and locate that analyzing the author’s choices at specific junctures provides them with a surer, more detailed grasp of content;

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

Thus, focus on a discipline’s language, methodology, formal conventions, and methods for 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 could it be constructed? What gets the author done to make the right parts total up to an argument?

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 chapter that is entire part of text?

Organizational Pattern Work

A) Scramble a paragraph and ask students: 1) to put it together; 2) to touch upon the processes that are mental into the restoration, the decisions about continuity they had to create centered on their sense of the author’s thinking.

B) Have students find several kinds of sentences in a text, and explain exactly, within the terms and spirit associated with text, what these sentences are intended to do: juxtapose, equate, polarize, rank, distinguish, make exceptions, concede, contrast. Often, needless to say, sentences will do a couple of of these plain things at a time.

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 means of analyzing structure and discuss the choices a writer makes and just how these choices subscribe to achieving the writer’s purpose.

Formulation of Questions and Acceptability of Evidence

A) What can be treated as known? What exactly is procedure that is acceptable ruling cases in or out?

B) Discuss how evidence is tested against an hypothesis, and exactly how hypotheses are modified. (How models are formulated and put on data; how observations turn 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 goal of such activities would be to have students read each other’s writing and develop their own critical faculties, using them to help the other person enhance their writing. Peer critiquing and discussion help students know the way their very own writing compares with this of their peers and helps them discover the characteristics that distinguish writing that is successful. You should understand that an instructor criticizing a text for a course is not peer critiquing; because of this will not provide the students practice in exercising their very own critical skills. Here are some different types of different ways this could be handled, and we also encourage you to definitely modify these to match your own purposes.

A) The Small Groups Model–The class is split into three sets of five students each. Each the student submits six copies of his or her paper, one for the instructor and one for each member of her group week. 60 minutes per week is devoted to group meetings by which some or all of the papers within the group are discussed. Before this combined group meeting, students must read every essay help one of the papers from their group and must write comments to be distributed to the other writers. Thus, weekly writing, reading and critiquing are an integral part of the program, and students develop skills through repeated practice which they would be struggling to develop if only asked to critique on three to four occasions. Because the teacher is present with each group, they can lead the discussion to greatly help students improve these critical skills.

B) The Pairs Model–Students can be paired off to read through and comment on each other’s writing so that each student will get written comments from one other student as well as the teacher. The teacher can, of course, look over the critical comments as well as 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 talk about each other’s work, or this might be done outside the class. The disadvantage for this method is that the 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 for the 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 instruct students how to improve not merely their mechanical skills, but also their thinking skills. Students may have comments that are critical their-teachers as well as from their peers to work well with. Some teachers like to have students revise a draft that is first only comments from their peers and then revise a moment time based on the teacher’s comments.

E) Student Critiques–Students should be taught how exactly to critique each other’s work. While many teachers may leave the nature of this response up to the students, most try to give their students some direction.

1) Standard Critique Form–This is a collection of questions or guidelines general enough to be applicable to virtually any writing a learning student might do. In English classes, the questions pay attention to such staples of rhetoric as audience, voice and purpose; in philosophy, they could guide the student to examine the logic or structure of a disagreement.

2) Assignment Critique Form–This is a set of questions designed especially for a particular writing task. Such a form has the advantage of making students attend to the aspects that are special to the given task. If students use 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 like to teach their students to write a “descriptive outline.” The student reads the paper and stops to write after each and every section or paragraph, recording what she or he thought the section said along with his or her responses or questions concerning it. At the end, the student writes his or her “summary comments” describing his / her response to the piece as a whole, raising questions regarding the writing, and perhaps making recommendations for further writing.

Since writing in itself is of value, teachers will not need to grade all writing assignments–for instance journals, 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 a far more finished, formal product before assigning grades.