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But How Do *I* Teach Writing?. Melissa Nicolas, Ph.D. Michelle LaFrance, Ph.D. October 15, 2009 Drew University. WAC Umbrella . Writing Intensive (WI). Writing in the Disciplines ( WID ). Writing Instruction. Composition courses. Writing in the discipline. Writing intensive.

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but how do i teach writing

But How Do *I* Teach Writing?

Melissa Nicolas, Ph.D.

Michelle LaFrance, Ph.D.

October 15, 2009

Drew University

wac umbrella
WAC Umbrella

Writing Intensive (WI)

Writing in the Disciplines (WID)

Writing Instruction

slide3

Composition

courses

Writing in

the discipline

Writing

intensive

Writing in

the course

learn-to-WRITE-to-learn

pedagogical grounding of wi courses
Pedagogical Grounding of WI courses

Successful WI courses are built around three basic tenets:

  • writing is a powerful learning tool
  • students can learn course content through carefully constructed writing assignments
  • writing assignments should be tied closely to course goals and outcomes
components of wi courses
Components of WI courses

Informal writing, low stakes writing:

  • Writing-to-learn activities that ask students to think on paper without the pressure of having to develop fully articulated essays.
  • Frequently ungraded or graded on a done/not done or pass/fail basis.
  • Examples include: response papers, journals, the one-minute essay, entrance/exit slips, lecture summaries, and thought papers.
components of wi courses1
Components of WI courses

Formal writing, high stakes writing:

  • Assignments that ask students to use writing to demonstrate, synthesize, analyze, or evaluate course content in more deliberate ways than informal writing.
  • Graded and accounts for a significant portion of overall course grade.
  • Students should be given timely and extensive feedback on at various stages in the writing process.
  • Students should be given the opportunity to revise light of instructor feedback.
  • Includes: essays, literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, research papers, and lab reports.
example of wi course
Example of WI course

Course Objectives

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Define “feminism” in a way that is both personally meaningful and intellectually sound
  • Articulate themes and issues that occupy Western feminist thought
  • Identify key thinkers in feminist theory and explain their contributions to feminist thought
  • Lead informed discussion about course ideas
  • Create a class wiki containing nuanced definitions of important terms in feminist theory
  • Make connections between theory and experience
  • Produce short, thoughtful, reflective essays that engage with the central ideas of the course
  • Conduct field research in the form of interviews
grade distribution
Grade Distribution

Response papers 30%

Scrapbook project 20%

Interview project 20%

Class wiki 15%

Class participation 15%

response papers
Response Papers

A series of ten, 500 word papers on a question that I create, related to what we are reading and discussing in class.

interview project
Interview Project

How has feminism affected women of different generations? What has the climate at Albright been like for women (faculty, students, and staff) during the last several decades? What was it like to be a woman in this country 10 years ago? 20? 50? To get at these questions, you will be asked to conduct interviews with several generations of women and map the theory we read onto their lives. Your results will be incorporated into a critical essay (6-8 pages).

scrapbook project
Scrapbook Project

This is a course on theory, so sometimes it may seem like what we are reading and talking about has little or no relevance to the “real” world. However, if you keep your eyes and minds open, you will find that there are examples of the theory we are dealing with in just about every aspect of modern life. The purpose of this assignment is to keep you on your toes for spotting the theory in everyday life. You will be asked to collect artifacts (newspaper clippings, magazine articles, audio clips; signs; conversations, etc,) throughout the semester that relate in some way to what we discuss in this course. At the end of the semester, you will be asked to present a “scrapbook” (paper or electronic) of what you have collected along with a short, explanatory essay about your scrapbook (about 5-7 pages).

class wiki
Class Wiki

Each member of the class will make significant contributions to the class wiki which will support our understanding of key terms we encounter during the semester.

assignments vis vis outcomes
Assignments vis-à-vis outcomes

Response papers

  • Articulate themes and issues that occupy Western feminist thought
  • Identify key thinkers in feminist theory and explain their contributions to feminist thought
  • Produce short, thoughtful, reflective essays that engage with the central ideas of the course
assignments vis vis outcomes1
Assignments vis-à-vis outcomes

Scrapbook project

  • Define “feminism” in a way that is both personally meaningful and intellectually sound
  • Articulate themes and issues that occupy Western feminist thought
  • Make connections between theory and experience
assignments vis vis outcomes2
Assignments vis-à-vis outcomes

Interview Project

  • Define “feminism” in a way that is both personally meaningful and intellectually sound
  • Make connections between theory and experience
  • Produce short, thoughtful, reflective essays that engage with the central ideas of the course
  • Conduct field research in the form of interviews
assignments vis vis outcomes3
Assignments vis-à-vis outcomes

Class wiki

  • Define “feminism” in a way that is both personally meaningful and intellectually sound
  • Articulate themes and issues that occupy Western feminist thought
  • Identify key thinkers in feminist theory and explain their contributions to feminist thought
  • Lead informed discussion about course ideas
  • Create a class wiki containing nuanced definitions of important terms in feminist theory