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

Three kinds of activity easily integrate into witing-intensive courses. First are the ones activities which focus only in the CONTENT, such as for instance lectures and discussions of texts. Second resume writer are activities related solely to WRITING as separate from the content concerns for the course. Grammar drills or sentence exercises that are combining into this category, but so would lecturing on writing in general or examining 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 the quality associated with the writing while the worth of the content. The following advice are designed to show how writing can be taught not simply as a skill that is mechanicalthrough sentence and paragraph modeling), nor merely as the display of data (by concentrating solely on content), but as a generative intellectual activity in its own right. They truly are based on three premises:

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

that astute readers deal with the dwelling associated with text and discover that analyzing the writer’s choices at specific junctures provides them with a surer, more grasp that is detailed of;

That students can give their writing more direction and focus by thinking about details as areas of a complete, 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 section or chapter. How will it be constructed? What gets the author done to help make the right 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 have students: 1) to put it together; 2) to comment on the mental processes involved in the restoration, the decisions about continuity that they had to make centered on their feeling of the writer’s thinking.

B) Have students find several types of sentences in a text, and explain exactly, when you look at the terms and spirit of the text, what these sentences are meant to do: juxtapose, equate, polarize, rank, distinguish, make exceptions, concede, contrast. Often, of course, sentences is going to do a couple of of those plain things at the same 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 contribute to reaching the writer’s purpose.

Formulation of Questions and Acceptability of Evidence

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

B) Discuss how evidence is tested against an hypothesis, and just how hypotheses are modified. (How models are designed and placed 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 usage of verbs), as basic building blocks in definition and explanation.

Peer critiquing and discussion of student writing can be handled in a true number of various ways. The goal of such activities would be to have students read each other’s writing and develop their particular faculties that are critical with them to help one another improve their writing. Peer critiquing and discussion help students know the way their own writing compares with this of these peers and helps them uncover the characteristics that distinguish successful writing. It is essential to keep in mind that an instructor criticizing a text for a course is certainly not peer critiquing; with this will not supply the students practice in exercising their very own critical skills. Here are some different types of various ways this could be handled, and we also encourage you to definitely 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 the student submits six copies of his or her paper, one for the instructor and one for each member of her group week. 1 hour per is devoted to group meetings in which some or all of the papers in the group are discussed week. 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 part of this course, and students develop skills through repeated practice that they will be not able to develop if only asked to critique on three to four occasions. Because the teacher is present with each group, they are able to lead the discussion to help students improve these skills that are critical.

B) The Pairs Model–Students can be paired off to see and touch upon one another’s writing such that each learning student will receive written comments from 1 other student plus the teacher. The teacher can, needless to say, look over the critical comments plus the paper to simply help students develop both writing and skills that are critical. This method requires no special copying and need take very classroom time that is little. The teacher may decide to allow some time for the pairs to go over one another’s work, or this could be done outside the class. The disadvantage of the method is the fact that the teacher cannot guide the discussions and students are limited by 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 allow class time for the 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 instruct students simple tips to improve not only their mechanical skills, but additionally their thinking skills. Students could have comments that are critical their-teachers as well as from their peers to work well with. Some teachers would rather 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 must certanly be taught how exactly to critique the other person’s work. While many teachers may leave the character associated with the response up to the students, most attempt 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 concentrate on 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 collection of questions designed designed for a particular writing task. Such an application gets the benefit of making students attend to the special aspects peculiar to your given task. If students use them repeatedly, however, they might 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 she or he thought the section said and his or her responses or questions concerning it. At the conclusion, the student writes his or her “summary comments” describing his / her reaction to the piece all together, raising questions about the writing, and maybe making recommendations for further writing.

Since writing by 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 can make many comments on such writing to help students further their thinking but may watch for a far more finished, formal product before assigning grades.