Arts and Humanities

From Topic to Thesis

Author: 
Tisha Turk, Gender and Women's Studies, UW-Madison
Description: 
Instructors often have to help students learn how to make a strong, analytical or argumentative central claim in a paper, a claim that goes beyond a mere statement of fact or obvious point.  In this handout for her students, Tisha Turk explains and illustrates what she's looking for in a strong thesis statement.

A well-constructed thesis statement helps hold an essay together by showing the reader where the paper is going to go. It defines not just a paper’s topic but its argument, and introduces the kinds of evidence or mode of reasoning that will be used to back up that argument. It does not merely summarize the points that will be made; rather, it shows the relationship between those points.

In-Class Writing Lessons

Author: 
Molly Peeney, Slavic Languages and Literature, UW-Madison
Description: 
Step-by-step instructions for designing and leading in-class discussions of student writing, developed for a Slavic literature-in-translation course.

Using student writing samples as the basis of your in-class discussions about writing is an effective method to teach writing and it saves you time. Why?

 

Helping Your Students Improve Their Writing and Their Learning

Author: 
Brad Hughes, UW-Madison WAC Program
Description: 
Here are some suggestions, based on research and experience, for improving your students' writing--and for improving the experience you have assigning, reading, and responding to it.

Obviously, many of these techniques take time to implement and some may be logistically impossible in large classes, but they have proven successful here and at many other schools, in courses across the curriculum. These suggestions may be used in any combination—few of us could employ all of them.

 

Helping Your Students Improve Their Writing and Their Learning

Some Concrete Tips for Working with Multilingual Writers

· Think carefully about unspoken assumptions about successful writing in your course and try to make your expectations as explicit as possible.

 

Burning Questions--Why Your Students Should Have Them

Author: 
Matthew Pearson
Description: 
Encouraging your students to write about issues that genuinely interest them is one of the best ways to help students to learn new things in your course and to write high-quality papers.

One of the challenges facing any instructor is trying to pinpoint why some papers are compelling and pleasurable to read, while others are difficult to get through, or simply not that exciting to read. Often, a central reason for less-than-stellar writing is that a few students do not have a genuine interest in their topics and a desire to know more about it.

Daniel Hausman's Model Philosophy Paper

Author: 
Daniel Hausman
Description: 
On the Web site for his course on Contemporary Moral Issues, Professor Daniel Hausman offers students general commentary on their first papers and illustrates his points with a model paper.

On the Web site for his course on Contemporary Moral Issues, Professor Daniel Hausman offers students general commentary on their first papers and illustrates his points with a model paper.

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