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

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

Three types of activity easily integrate into witing-intensive courses. First are those activities which focus only from the CONTENT, such as 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 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 for the writing and the worth of this content. The following tips are designed to show how writing could be taught not merely as a mechanical skill (through sentence and paragraph modeling), nor merely while the display of information (by concentrating solely on content), but as a generative intellectual activity with its own right. They truly are predicated 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 dwelling regarding the text and locate that analyzing the writer’s choices at specific junctures gives them a surer, more detailed grasp of content;

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

Thus, focus on a discipline’s language, methodology, formal conventions, and methods 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 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 section or chapter. How could it be constructed? What has got the author done to help make the right parts total 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 in the chapter that is entire area of text?

Organizational Pattern Work

A) Scramble a paragraph and inquire students: 1) to place it together; 2) to comment on the processes that are mental in the restoration, the decisions about continuity that they had in order to make centered on their sense of the writer’s thinking.

B) Have students find several kinds of sentences in a text, and explain exactly, when you look at the terms and spirit regarding the text, what these sentences are essay helper designed to do: juxtapose, equate, polarize, rank, distinguish, make exceptions, concede, contrast. Often, of course, sentences will do two or more of those things at the same time.

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

D) Have students outline as a method of analyzing structure and discuss the choices a writer makes and exactly 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 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 built and put on data; how observations turn into claims, etc.)

C) Examine cause and effect; condition and result; argumentative strategies, such as comparison-contrast, and agency (especially making use of verbs), as basic building blocks in definition and explanation.

Peer critiquing and discussion of student writing may be handled in a number of various ways. The purpose of such activities would be to have students read each other’s writing and develop their very own critical faculties, with them to help one another boost their writing. Peer critiquing and discussion help students understand how their very own writing compares with that of these peers and helps them uncover the characteristics that distinguish writing that is successful. It is critical to keep in mind 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 a few types of other ways this is handled, and then we encourage you to definitely modify these to match your own purposes.

A) The Small Groups Model–The class is divided in to 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 specialized in group meetings for which some or most of the papers in the group are discussed. Before this combined group meeting, students must read most 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 which they would be struggling to develop if only asked to critique on 3 or 4 occasions. Due to the fact teacher is present with each group, they can lead the discussion to simply help students improve these skills that are critical.

B) The Pairs Model–Students can be paired off to read through and comment on one another’s writing such that each student will receive written comments from one other student along with the teacher. The teacher can, needless to say, go over the critical comments as well as 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 right time for the pairs to discuss each other’s work, or this could be done not in the class. The disadvantage of this method is the fact that teacher cannot guide the discussions and students are restricted to comments from only 1 of these peers.

C) Small Groups within Class–Many teachers break their classes into small groups (from 3 to 7 students) and enable class time when it comes to 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 show students how to improve not only their mechanical skills, but additionally 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 first draft with only comments from their peers and then revise an additional time in line with the teacher’s comments.

E) Student Critiques–Students must be taught just how to critique one another’s work. While many teachers may leave the type for the response as much as the students, most make an effort to give their students some direction.

1) Standard Critique Form–This is a couple of questions or guidelines general adequate 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 couple of questions designed specifically for a particular writing task. Such a form has got the benefit of making students deal with the special aspects peculiar to your given task. If students utilize 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 choose to teach their students to write 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 do not need to 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 watch for a far more finished, formal product before assigning grades.

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