One of the first questions that faculty new to teaching writing across the disciplines ask is: how do I add writing to what I’m already doing in my class? Balancing content and writing instruction is a difficult task, and often we feel like we just can’t fit everything in. And while teaching a writing course might carry extra expectations, faculty are often surprised to learn that small writing-to-learn activities can add a lot of value while not requiring a lot of work. Continue reading
As teachers, we recognize that academic success isn’t based only on cognitive abilities; it is also significantly impacted by social practices and emotional well-being. But sometimes, we aren’t always certain how to articulate that for our students. That is why today we are sharing a video from our friend Karyn Kessler, Interim Academic Director of INTO Mason, in which she talks about her five tips for academic success. While she directs her advice to students studying in international contexts, much of it also applies to students studying in their hometowns and the faculty who teach them. We summarize her tips below. Continue reading
A lot faculty struggle to find time to keep up on their research agendas during the semester. Between meetings, teaching, and all of the other things that add up to a faculty member’s work life, time often gets away from us. So, how do we make time for our research and writing? Continue reading
“I hear a lot of writers and a lot of people worry that they’re not good enough, they’re insecure about their writing, they don’t think that they’re a good writer and that nothing is ever going to come of it. And that’s really sad because probably someone saw their writing at some point and was like ‘oh that’s stupid’ and they don’t ever want to write again. So my mentality now has been ‘fuck it, write it,’ if you want to write it then do it.”
Hanna Vandergrift is an English Major at George Mason University.
When it comes to feedback, students often fear the image of a professor armed with red pens, poised to slash away at the words that they have lovingly crafted. As professors, however, we are more often than not trying to give students insight into how we might develop their drafts so that they might move their work forward. But, frequently, the revisions students make don’t seem to connect with the feedback that we give. So we have to wonder: do these painstaking comments really make a difference? Continue reading
In our last post, we discussed the qualities of good feedback. But as many writing teachers know, giving good feedback is only part of the equation; students still need to use that feedback in order to revise their drafts and develop as writers. And this second part of the equation can be a significant challenge for many writing teachers and students alike; as Katherine Gottschalk and Keith Hjortshoj note, drafts can sometimes become “like concrete:” once they begin to set, they aren’t likely to see changes deeper than the surface. So, the question becomes: how do we help students use our feedback and revise their writing? Continue reading
Writing intensive courses are built on the concept that students improve as writers when they are given frequent opportunities to revise their writing based upon feedback from faculty. While providing feedback can seem simple, many writing teachers recognize that the task is complex, and it’s common for faculty to feel unsure of how best to provide feedback on writing. In consultations and informal conversations, faculty often ask us: how do I provide effective feedback, and what should I be mindful of as I provide my student’s feedback? Continue reading
“Writing is a job, a part of my job, a big part of my job actually–research is like 90% of it. And I’m a political scientist, so my work is represented in a written form, at the core of my job description. I wanna be good at it, but I don’t know if I’m good at it… [For my projects], I fill the gap with writing skills, so that’s where I’m struggling right now…I never thought I was a good writer. I think I’m getting better at making things clear, but I still think I have horrible prose. So I doubt myself all the time. Going back to the idea that I can still cut out some of the unnecessary stuff in drafts was just a gradual process that came to make me feel better.”
Byunghwan Son is an Assistant Professor of Global Affairs.
People new to teaching writing aren’t often sure what proven teaching strategies are and whether those practices are linked to research or simply lore.
Doug Hesse addresses concerns that are often posed by many writing teachers in programs across the country, such as Professor Joseph Teller who worries about his students’ writing abilities despite much instructional effort. Hesse, however, attempts to correct Teller’s position by stating that there are proven, research based practices to teach writing. Continue reading