General Ideas about Writing

Guidelines, scholarship, suggestions, and more for teaching writing and teaching with writing.

National Council of Teachers of English Beliefs about the Teaching of Writing

Author: 
Writing Study Group of the NCTE Executive Committee
Description: 
This summary of the 2004 National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) position statement is based on research and the experience of thousands of teachers of writing and provides an excellent overview of current thinking about the teaching of writing. For the full document please visit http://www.ncte.org/positions/statements/writingbeliefs.

Just as the nature of and expectation for literacy has changed in the past century and a half, so has the nature of writing. Much of that change has been due to technological developments, from pen and paper, to typewriter, to word processor, to networked computer, to design software capable of composing words, images, and sounds.

Liberal Education and America's Promise Essential Learning Outcomes

Author: 
Association of American Colleges and Universities
Description: 
Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP) is a national initiative that champions the importance of a twenty-first-century liberal education—for individual students and for a nation dependent on economic creativity and democratic vitality.

Beginning in school, and continuing at successively higher levels across their college studies, students should prepare for twenty-first-century challenges by gaining:

 

Knowledge of Human Cultures and the Physical and Natural World

Four Ways Lecturers Can Support Their TAs in Writing Courses

Author: 
Rebecca Schoenike Nowacek, UW-Madison WAC Program
Description: 
Four best practices for how lecturers can support TAs in Communication-B and Writing-Intensive courses.

With so many Comm-B and Writing-Intensive courses taught in a lecture-discussion section format, TAs are often on the front lines of implementing the general education requirements and must juggle a multitude of responsibilities. To succeed, TAs need strong and consistent support from their lecturers.

Some Guidelines for Respecting Language Diversity in Writing

Author: 
L&S Program in Writing Across the Curriculum
Description: 
A framework and some resources for understanding the rich variety of dialects and languages students bring to the classroom.

UW students bring a rich variety of dialects and languages to the classroom, giving instructors who use writing in their classes a unique opportunity to build on students’ linguistic resources. Unfortunately, it is easy for instructors to value the language of some groups more than others.

Why Write in the Sciences?

Author: 
Janet Batzli, Biocore, UW-Madison, and Michelle Harris, Biocore, UW-Madison
Description: 
In this excerpt from the Biocore program’s Writing Manual, Janet Batzli and Michelle Harris discuss the role of writing in teaching a scientific discipline such as biology.

The Biology Core Curriculum (Biocore) is a four-semester, laboratory-intensive, writing-intensive intercollege honors program. Each fall, approximately 160 students enter the sequence through Biocore 301/302. The combinations of Biocore 301/302 and Biocore 303/304 each fulfill the University’s Communication B requirement.

Why Learning to Write Well in College Is Difficult

Author: 
Bill Cerbin, Assistant to the Provost, UW-La Crosse, and Terry Beck, Department of English, UW-La Crosse
Description: 
In this list, Cerbin and Beck offer insightful explanations for why students struggle when they move from high school to college writing and when they write in different disciplines. Cerbin and Beck offer instructors explicit issues to consider when designing writing assignments, working with students on writing, and evaluating written work.

The following list is not, of course, meant to rationalize sub-par writing by college students. Nor can one course instructor address all the challenges listed below.

Why Should I Use Writing Assignments in My Teaching?

Author: 
Brad Hughes, UW-Madison WAC Program
Description: 
The premise of this WAC website--and of the WAC movement overall--is that effectively designed writing assignments enhance our teaching and our students' learning.  While acknowleding that assigning and evaluating writing is time consuming, this page offers a number of persuasive arguments why writing assignments are part of effective teaching and learning.

That's a good question, actually. Let's be honest–-there are, after all, many reasons why we might not want to assign writing in our courses. And many of those reasons have to do with the limited time we all can devote to teaching. Designing writing assignments and responding to student writing take valuable time—lots of time if we do them carefully.

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