A Few Tips for Teaching (with) Writing

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If you are new to teaching (with) writing, the responsibility may feel overwhelming.  Many new instructors (and veteran ones as well) often find themselves asking: how am I going to fit all of the content I want to teach? How am I going to guide and support my students’ writing?  And how am I going to evaluate all of that student writing?

Having once asked himself similar questions, Brady Krien offers some sound advice for instructors teaching with writing in a recent blog post on Inside Higher Ed.  Krien suggests that faculty provide students specific evaluation criteria that help students know what to focus on; instructors might identify these criteria by thinking about how the assignment aligns with the course’s learning objectives.  When commenting on student drafts, Krien advises that instructors should prioritize “about three or four of the most important things that a student can do to improve” a draft.  That is, faculty shouldn’t worry about correcting and commenting on everything in a draft as much as they should about advising students on how to move a draft forward.

This suggestion implies, as Krien writes, that faculty should require multiple drafts of writing assignments.  A drafting process “helps to ensure that both you and they are on the same page, improving the quality of their writing and decreasing both of your stress levels.”  As a complement to drafting, Krien also suggests that faculty check in with students about the course and their progress; give students the opportunity to talk about expectations, challenges, and their learning in the course.  Krien believes this practice “is a great way to get a sense of where your students are at and how best to spend class time getting them to where they need to be.”  Finally, Krien suggests that faculty provide good writing resources including sample drafts to help students understand expectations and shore up some writing knowledge on their own.

To read Krien’s complete suggestions, visit his post on Inside Higher Ed.

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