Last month’s TWW post offered three suggestions for assigning and supporting team-based writing. These suggestions emphasized a consensual, interdependent, and collaborative vision for team-based work. It’s a fine vision, but, at the end of the day, how do you assess it? Because our students often think of grades as individual, distinctive, and competitive markers of performance, team-based writing assignments can raise challenging questions when it comes to their evaluation. Should one grade be given equally to each student on a team?
At the start of the semester, students are brimming with questions. While many of these questions may initially concern course logistics and policies, they nonetheless send a powerful signal: engagement. As a good deal of educational research has shown, student engagement is high at the start of the term, and a key indicator of this engagement is talk.
August in Minnesota is a fine time to visit lakes, try unusual foods at the State Fair, and (re)design course syllabi. This post doesn’t offer local travel or culinary advice, but it does suggest three ways your syllabus can support student writers in your classes this semester.
While students are often quite proficient in summarizing texts, some students struggle to make the subsequent move to establish relationships between texts or build their own claims with textual evidence. In his book Rewriting: How to Do Things with Texts, Joseph Harris recommends the metaphor of forwarding as a way to help students to begin those conversations.
Early December is crunch time on campus. The Center for Writing hums with appointments, students pack office hours, and instructors work earnestly to return midterms and papers before the Final Exam period begins. Amidst the hurly-burly, some student writers will struggle to start and manage their final writing assignments, and some instructors may feel too pressed to spend time in class addressing writing issues. This post offers three tips for how instructors can use time strategically in class to support student writing in the final weeks.
Research documenting the relationship between writing, student engagement and deep learning identifies three areas of effective instructional practice:
In their recent book, The Meaningful Writing Project: Learning, Teaching, and Writing in Higher Education (2016), researchers Michele Eodice, Anne Ellen Geller, and Neal Lerner share results from a multi-year study featuring surveys and one-on-one interviews with students and faculty at three universities.
Instructors and students alike recognize that getting an early start on an assignment and spending time on task can lead to both smoother writing processes and stronger written products. Nonetheless, students often seem to wait too long to get started, fail to effectively manage their time when assigned with an unfamiliar writing task, or appear to put forth minimal effort. This Tip addresses some key factors that influence student motivation and discuss instructional strategies to both promote student self-efficacy and reduce the consequences of procrastination due to demotivation.
Research in writing studies strongly suggests that when students reflect on specific moments of success and struggle with their writing, they are more apt to transfer learning gains. Student reflection can also guide future teaching. This end-of-the-semester tip offers three suggestions for taking stock with your students and planning ahead.