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
On January 9th and 10th, Mason’s WAC Program held its 5th winter faculty writing retreat and its 10th overall. Mason’s WAC Program began hosting retreats in May 2014 to provide a distraction-free environment for faculty to work on scholarly projects. Since that time, the retreats have garnered a steady interest, but this retreat was our largest one yet: a total of 48 energetic writers convened in Fenwick Library for two productive days. Continue reading
Check back in January for new posts and profiles!
– The Writing Across the Curriculum Team
This year, our National Day on Writing celebration was a bit more familiar but no less exciting. According to the NCTE website, the National Day on Writing is a day to recognize all forms of writing, built on “the premise that writing is critical to literacy but needs greater attention and celebration.” This mission is one near and dear to our hearts. So, with tweets prepped, pens at the ready, and sticky notes shining brightly in the sun, we were ready to call attention to the diverse voices of the Mason community as they let us know their thoughts on writing. Continue reading
As we have written throughout this semester, many challenges that students encounter with writing stem from difficulties with reading. These difficulties range across disciplines, but each discipline might face its own set of challenges. The problem many faculty in the sciences experience, writes Laura Davies in her article on teaching reading in science courses, is that often “students regard scientific texts as collections of facts.” Thus, Davies says, students engage articles purely for content and can overlook how that content engages in broader disciplinary conversations and practices, which are often critical for entering into a disciplinary community. So, how do we help students read for more than facts? Continue reading
Earlier in the semester, we shared some resources that focused on using annotations and other strategies to support reading. The general intent of these strategies is to prompt students to engage more deeply and mindfully with their reading. In our post on “mindful reading,” we mentioned that effective readers often read for specific purposes that shape the way they engage the texts they are reading. For instance, if readers want to gain a general understanding of a text, they might skim it by noting the title, reading the introduction and conclusion, and browsing the main sections. But what if we have a different purpose? What if we are engaging a text not for its content but for its structure? Continue reading