Strategies for Assigning Composition

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Strategies for Assigning Composition

  1. 1. Writing in the Perspectives:<br />Strategies for Assigning Composition<br />A Presentation by the CCNY Writing Fellows<br />
  2. 2. Overview<br />Strategies for Assigning Composition:<br /><ul><li>Low-Stakes Writing
  3. 3. Revision-Oriented Feedback
  4. 4. Handouts
  5. 5. Scaffolding
  6. 6. Real Revision</li></li></ul><li>Low-Stakes Writing<br />A short, informal writing responses that help students develop critical thinking skills. A forum for exploring ideas, not “right answers”. <br /><ul><li> Benefits: Stimulates thinking. Encourages discussion. Enforces completion of readings. Urges students to ask questions. Helps reduce plagiarism. Encourages thesis-driven writing.
  7. 7. Examples & Methods: In-class student writing. Homework. Exam preparation. Thesis writing.
  8. 8. Grading: For content & analysis, not structure or mechanics. Grading value should be small. May be turned in with the final paper as a portfolio of the student’s progress, research, and revision on a topic. This may help reduce plagiarism.</li></li></ul><li>Revision-Oriented Feedback<br /><ul><li> Understand that your feedback is a response within a greater conversation that you’re having with your student, the end goal being to produce a satisfying final draft.
  9. 9. Making effective comments requires a plan and consistent philosophy.
  10. 10. We propose the following hierarchy for feedback:
  11. 11. Higher-Order Concerns: the quality of ideas, organization, development, and clarity of the paper.
  12. 12. Lower-Order Concerns: grammatical errors, misspellings, punctuation mistakes, and awkwardness in style.
  13. 13. Final Comments: to encourage improvement by summing up strengths, identifying the problems that require attention, and making a few specific suggestions.</li></li></ul><li>Handouts<br /><ul><li> Determine the learning outcomes of assignments, and state them within the course objectives on your syllabus
  14. 14. Type all handouts
  15. 15. Explicate tasks
  16. 16. Is academic jargon clear to students?
  17. 17. Do students know the essay format?
  18. 18. Define the role and audience for the assignment
  19. 19. Specify other business: deadlines; length of paper, font, margins, reference-style; acceptable & minimum numbers of source
  20. 20. State criteria for evaluation: ideas, structure, thesis statement, quality of writing</li></li></ul><li>Scaffolding: Breaking Assignments Down Into Parts<br /><ul><li>Help students discover that: 1) writing causes further discovery, development & modification of ideas; 2) in early drafts, expert writers struggle to clarify meanings for themselves; & 3) in later drafts, expert writers reshape ideas in order to meet the readers’ needs for effective organization, adequate development & clarification.
  21. 21. Promote a “problem-driven” model, not a “think, then write” model of writing.
  22. 22. Scaffolding steps: 1) begin by asking students to turn in something early in the writing process to “check in” on how they are doing; 2) then ask for a draft; and 3) finish with a re-write or a final draft.
  23. 23. Scaffolding encourages students to take the steps which will lead to a well-written papers & allows student to construct them in stages.
  24. 24. Goal: get students personally engaged with the kinds of questions that propel expert writers through the writing process, so that writing becomes a powerful means of active learning in the discipline.</li></li></ul><li>Real Revision<br /> Develop a formal process of encouraging students to reflect critically on “finished” work and to re-engage with their written work.<br /> Practical Tips: <br /><ul><li> Ask students to approach papers as thesis-driven attempts to address specific problems that are outlined in a thesis, rather than assigning topic-based papers.
  25. 25. Create active learning tasks that encourage them to pose & explore problems.
  26. 26. Intervene in the writing process from the start.
  27. 27. Give practical advice on the mechanics of revision. Differentiate between revising and editing.
  28. 28. Have high standards for finished products.
  29. 29. De-emphasize high-stakes essay exams; they reinforce the “one draft” idea.
  30. 30. Give students the chance to meaningfully revise and resubmit papers.</li></li></ul><li>The End<br />For further information, please visit: http://www.ccny.cuny.edu/wac/<br />

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