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

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 kinds of activity easily integrate into witing-intensive courses. First are those activities which focus only regarding the CONTENT, such as for instance lectures and discussions of texts. Second are activities related solely to WRITING as separate from the content concerns of this 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 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 the quality for the writing plus the worth of this content. The following tips are intended to show how writing can be taught not merely as a skill that is mechanicalthrough sentence and paragraph modeling), nor merely since the display of data (by concentrating solely on content), but as a generative intellectual activity with its own right. They truly are based on three premises:

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

that astute readers attend to the structure for the text and locate 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 parts of an entire, whether that whole be a sentence, paragraph, or chapter.

Thus, attention to a discipline’s language, methodology, formal conventions, and means 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 single sentence summary. Compare results for inclusivity, accuracy, emphasis, and nuance.

B) Analyze a text chapter or section. How can it be constructed? What has got the author done to really make the Parts add 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 within the chapter that is entire area of text?

Organizational Pattern Work

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

B) Have students find several types of sentences in a text, and explain exactly, into 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 two or more among these plain things at the same time.

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

D) Have students outline as a means of analyzing structure and talk about the choices a writer makes and exactly how these choices play a role in achieving the writer’s purpose.

Formulation of Questions and Acceptability of Evidence

A) exactly what can be treated as known? What exactly is acceptable means of 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 applied to 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 making use 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 purpose of such activities is to have students read the other person’s writing and develop their particular faculties that are critical using them to simply help the other person enhance their writing. Peer critiquing and discussion help students know how their very own writing compares with that of their peers and helps them uncover the characteristics that distinguish successful writing. You will need to understand that a teacher criticizing a text for a class is certainly not peer critiquing; with this will not provide the students practice in exercising their very own critical skills. Here are some different types of various ways this is often handled, and we encourage one to modify these to fit your own purposes.

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 week is specialized in group meetings by which some or every one of the papers in the group are discussed. Before this combined group meeting, students must read all the papers from their group and must write comments to be shared with the other writers. Thus, weekly writing, reading and critiquing are an integral part of the course, and students develop skills through repeated practice that they would be not able to develop if only asked to critique on three or four occasions. Due to the fact teacher is present with every group, they are able to lead the discussion to assist students improve these skills that are critical.

B) The Pairs Model–Students can be paired off to learn and comment on one another’s writing so that each learning student will get written comments from one other student along with the teacher. The teacher can, needless to say, look over the critical comments along with 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 might wish to allow some time for the pairs to discuss each other’s work, or this might be done not in the class. The disadvantage of this method is the fact that trained teacher cannot guide the discussions and students are limited by comments from only 1 of their peers.

C) Small Groups within Class–Many teachers break their classes into small groups (from 3 to 7 students) and invite 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 teach students how to improve not only their mechanical skills, but also their thinking skills. Students might have critical comments from their-teachers as well as from their peers to work with. Some teachers would rather 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 must be taught just how to critique one another’s work. Although some teachers may leave the nature associated with the response as much as 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. 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 writing task that is particular. Such an application has got the advantageous asset of making students attend to the aspects that are special to your given task. If students utilize them repeatedly, however, they may 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 like to teach their students to publish a “descriptive outline.” The student reads the paper and stops to write after every paragraph or section, recording what she or he thought the section said and his or her responses or questions concerning it. By the end, the student writes his / her “summary comments” describing his / her reaction to the piece in general, raising questions about the writing, and maybe making ideas 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 could make many comments on such writing to help students further their thinking but may watch for a more finished, formal product before assigning grades.

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