Wednesday, May 19, 2010

From learning to implementing

What comments did you hear being made about your colleagues’ student essays?
Comments primarily dealt with text clarity, how one idea transitions to the next and add up to make bigger ideas. Some emphasis was also made on sentence construction, as this clarifies texts.

What are the differences and similarities between the types of comments you heard?

Irrespectively of field or area of study, the way ideas are weaved into larger concepts seems to be an area where students struggle. And again, sentence construction was an important but secondary point of discussion. Some differences in the type of comments have more to do with content that with the way the content was presented and they seem to be more specific of each topic.

How does the help you re-think your strategy for commenting on essays? Explain.
I would like to implement a review workshop in the class, were students learn to identify these problems before submitting final reports for evaluation. This would hopefully eliminate some of the most common mistakes in the student essays because it will force students to review and edit them before submission.

As for commenting on essays, I would mark sections that are problematic and explain to the student why that section has problems. However, I will not tell the student how to fix it.

What did you learn about applying writing as a process in your classrooms?
I learned that focusing on the process of writing rather than final writing product, I can be a more effective at teaching students critical thinking.

What techniques/strategies did you pick up for integrating writing as a process?
To convert writing assignments into a process I will convert large assignments into smaller ones that built on one another and that add up to make the equivalent of a term paper. I will incorporate more goal oriented activities with clear and detailed instructions. I will demonstrate some of the techniques used to develop the assignments in class such as the use of electronic resources, etc, and maybe even bring experts to talk about these and other University resources. I will think of even incorporating some of these ideas in other courses that I teach.

What problems do you foresee in your attempt to treat writing more like a process and not a product?
One foreseeable problem is that students are product driven. They may have difficulties adapting to a new teaching strategy. Another problem may be that during the transition period from one teaching method to another, my work load may increase. However, this should pass once glitches are ironed out.

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