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Articles on Pedagogy

Listed below are articles on this topic from the Campus Writing Program Library. Short summaries and citations are provided when available.

Almasy, Rudolph. "The Nature of Writing-Laboratory Instruction for the Developing Student." Tutoring Writing. A Sourcebook for the Writing Lab. Ed. Muriel Harris.Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman, 1982. 13-20.

Examines 4 assumptions made about the teaching of writing, and relates these 4 assumptions to tutorial instruction in a writing lab. The 4 assumptions to improve writing; a writer must talk to/understand the reader; a writer must understand and engage in the processes of invention; a writer must write when she's ready to write; a writer must interact with the written product. All of these ways to improve writing can happen in a writing lab, and fit well with how lab instruction typically happens.

Anderson, Worth, Cynthia Best, Alycia Black, John Hurst, Brandt Miller, and Susan Miller. "Cross-Curricular Underlife: A Collaborative Report on Ways with Academic Words." College Composition and Communication 41.1 (February 1990): 11-36.

This article summarizes a research project conducted by Susan Miller and 5 of her writing students to determine the relationship between how learning is defined in "college writing" and how learning occurs in other introductory level courses. The most useful concept that the students applied from the writing course was the audience-centered approach. Most found that learning a teacher's expectations and values improved student performance. In addition, they suggest teaching notetaking skills. Their findings also showed that most students learn independently in other courses, as opposed to the interactive format of the writing class.

Appleby, Arthur N. "Building a Foundation for Effective Teaching and Learning of English: A Personal Perspective on Thirty Years of Research." Research in the Teaching of English 33 (1999): 352-366.

Documents thirty years' involvement in language/literature studies. Moves from research that documents how classrooms work to speculation about the next direction. Suggests that we need to research how to make classrooms work better. Over the past thirty years, we've accumulated quite a bit of information about how/why people learn, as well as the effectiveness of different pedagogical strategies. Little progress from the abstract to the concrete mean that we've a lot of theories, but haven't figured out the ramifications of these theories.

Arapoff-Cramer, Nancy. "A Survey of Writing Assignments." College Composition and Communication 22 (May 1971): 161-168.

Arapoff-Cramer presents the results of two surveys she took at the University of Hawaii, one on the writing skills of foreign students, and one on writing assignments at the university. Her findings lead her to conclude that most professors grade on content rather than style, and that most have a term-paper count for a large portion of the grade. She finds that term papers are similar across disciplines and suggests that freshman composition courses should include instruction on how to write a term paper.

Bean, John. "Helping Students Read Difficult Texts." Engaging Ideas: The Professor's Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1996. 133-147.

Instructors often note that poor reading and poor writing are interlinked. Reading difficulties may stem from a variety of causes--ten are listed here--and understanding the causes can help instructors devise strategies to help students read more effectively. A variety of suggestions for discussing more effective strategies are given, along with some guidelines in how to construct assignments that require students to employ better reading strategies.

Beaufort, Anne. "Operationalizing the Concept of Discourse Community: A Case Study of One Institutional Site of Composing." Research in the Teaching of English 31.4 (1997): 486-529.

A case study of the writing done in a non-profit organization provides insight into the diferent constraints placed on writing genres by the expectations of the particular discourse community. Furthermore, the case study also documents the types of adjustments necessary to negotiate audience and genre when the writing task involves more than one discourse community. Through following the different strategies adopted by the informants in the study, the author concludes that the notion of discourse community may be a useful heuristic in teaching because it entails considering audience, communication context, and meshing communicative purpose with audience values. These considerations may help students think of the larger implications of their writing.

Beers, Susan E. "An Analysis of the Interaction between Students' Epistemological Assumptions and the Composing Process." Paper presented at the Conference on College Composition and Communication, March 1984. 16pp.

Uses the Perry scale to show how student writing is affected by epistemological assumptions. Claims that the teacher, then, must be aware of these assumptions to help them improve their writing.

Beers, Susan E. "Epistemological and Instructional Assumptions of College Teachers" ERIC Document ED232522 (April 1983).

Teachers' views of education, their students, and their disciplines were assessed based on interviews with 20 faculty members from a small liberal arts college.

Beers, Susan E. "Epistemological Assumptions and College Teaching: Interactions in the College Classroom" Journal of Research and Development in Education 21.4 (Summer 1988): 87-94.

A theoretical analysis of how students' and teachers' interactions influence the conceptions of knowledge which are transmitted in the college classroom.

Berlin, James A. "Contemporary Composition: The Major Pedagogical Theories." College English 44.8 (1982): 765-777.

Analyzes four groupings of pedagogical theories--Neo-Aristotelians, Positivists, Neo-Platonists, and New Rhetoricians--in terms of how they define the relationships of writer, reality, audience, and language. Argues that the New Rhetoricians provides the most effective theoretical basis for composition study.

Bruffee, Kenneth. "Constructive Reading." A Short Course in Writing, 4th ed. New York: HarperCollins, 1993. 147-187.

In order to write well, students need to learn to read well. By reading constructively, students learn to recognize how meaning is created in a text. This selection offers a series of suggestions for getting students to read constructively, including using a descriptive outline--an outline that makes the distinction between a paragraph's content and its rhetorical purpose.

Burns, Marilyn. "Writing in Math Class? Absolutely!" Instructor 104 (April, 1995): 40-47.

Writing in grade school math class supports student learning in that children must organize their thinking in order to get their ideas on paper. Teachers benefit in that the papers help elucidate how children approach ideas. To help elementary school teachers integrate writing assignments into their math curriculum, Burns offers nine strategies, answers to commonly asked questions, four types of writing assignments for math, and math activities that lead to writing.

Carlisle, E. Fred. "Teaching Scientific Writing Humanistically: From Theory to Action." English Journal (April 1978): 35-39.

Discusses the author's assumptions about language, and about the close relationship between clear writing and clear thinking/research. Outlines relationships that writers need to be aware of: writer to subject, writer to reader, writer to his/her personal values, motives, etc. in writing. Then describes a year-long series of courses designed to teach these relationships and teach scientific writing.

Carlisle, Marcia. "Talking History." OAH Magazine of History 57.9 (1995): 57-59.

Argues that students too often put more effort into producing essays than into their classroom participation. To help students make their own connections with the material, teachers need to encourage students to talk more about the material in a meaningful way. By establishing a computer discussion about history, the author succeeded in getting students to participate in class discussions more easily. The article gives some specific insights into the set-up of the computer conversation, and some examples of different ways it facilitated her own class.

Collins, John. Administering Writing Programs: A Workshop Leader's Handbook. Chelmsford, MA: Northeast Regional Exchange, Inc., 1982.

This handbook describes both 1 and 2-day workshops designed to help administrators improve elementary and secondary school writing programs. The handbook contains agendas, a case study, materials to prompt a discussion of writing program philosophy, sample evaluation forms, a selected bibliography, a list of functions and activities for the program administrator, writing samples from K-12 writers, and guidelines for assessing and restructuring writing programs.

Connors, Robert J. "The Erasure of the Sentence." College Composition and Communication 52.1 (2000): 96-128.

Argues that composition pedagogies change as the discipline of composition becomes more institutionalized, yet few people working in the field are aware of what has been lost as a result of changing pedagogical theories. The history of sentence rhetorics shows that as composition studies became a subfield of English, the attitudes from English theoretical perspectives influenced composition pedagogies. The notion that sentence rhetorics do not work as pedagogical techniques is prevalent in the modern academy, yet studies prior to 1980 indicate that these rhetorics were effective in producing "mature" writing. This refusal to believe in empirical evidence coincides with English departments' distrust of scientific empiricism.

Connors, Robert J. "The Rise and Fall of the Modes of Discourse." College Composition and Communication 32.4 (1981): 444-55.

Traces the history of discourse modes as a pedagogical tool from the early 1800s--when they were used to classify discourse--to the late 1800s, when they became models for instruction in discourse. The decline of the modes in the mid 1900s is a result of their divorcing writing purpose from writing form. From their early use as a means, they became exalted to the status of an end in themselves.

Coogan, David. Electronic Writing Centers: Computing in the Field of Composition.Stamford, CT: Ablex Publishing Company. 1999.

Coogan theorizes the electronic writing center as a dialogic space where students and tutors learn to value those off-stage voices and contradictory impulses that inform their writing. This approach is opposed to that in which the writing center is a fix-it shop and the computer is a type of teaching machine. The text has five chapters: "Tutors and Computers in Composition Studies," "Email `Tutoring' and Dialogic Literacy," "The Medium is Not the Message," "The Idea of an Electronic Writing Center," and "Computing in the Field of Composition." An appendix, "African-American Poetry as Catalyst for Exploring Discrimination," includes a 4-week teaching guide on poetry and discrimination for junior and senior high school students.

Davidson, Neil. "Small-Group Learning and Teaching in Mathematics: A Selective Review of the Research." no citation.

A review of research on the use of small collaborative groups in learning math. Also discusses results of studies of group learning situations in which successful groups were rewarded for their work. Discusses research on group dynamics in collaborative groups. Most studies find either no difference between classes that incorporate small groups and those that don't, or results that favor the classes with small groups.

Duerden, Sarah T., Jeanne Garland, and Christine Everhart Helfers. "Profile Assignment." Strategies for Teaching First-Year Composition. Eds. Duane Roen and others. Urbana, IL: NCTE. 2002. 152-164.

Profile assignments not only make students think more about their future profession, but also both underscore that writing is for a purpose and teach how to incorporate quotations in a natural fashion. A sample assignment for engineering students is provided, as well as two variations suitable for non-engineering students. Some supplemental student information is likewise provided.

Dunkin, M.J. and R.P. Precians. "Award-winning university teachers' concepts of teaching" Higher Education 24 (1992): 483-502.

Techniques of award-winning teachers at the University of Sydney are compared to those of novice teachers. The award-winners were found to have more complex and flexible concepts of teaching effectiveness, to use a wider range of criteria in evaluating their teaching, and to rely more on personal feelings.

Dusterhoff, Marilane. "Why Write in Mathematics?" Teaching K-8. January 1995. 48-49.

Writing allows students to integrate math concepts into their everyday experiences. Dusterhoff sketches out six reasons for using writing in a math class, beginning with the claim that math provides interesting topics for students to write about and finishing with the observation that writing helps the teacher gain insight into student learning.

Elbow, Peter. "Embracing Contraries in the Teaching Process." College English 45.4 (April 1983): 327-339.

Argues that teaching means holding contrary values and opinions: an obligation and a loyalty to students, to be ally, supporter, coach, but also an obligation and loyalty to knowledge and society, that requires high standards and tough criticism. How can these contraries be reconciled? By alternating between them, so that you never do both at once.

Elbow, Peter. "Taking Time Out from Grading and Evaluating While Working in a Conventional System." Assessing Writing 4.1 (1997): 5-27.

Conventional grading is only one segment of evaluation, yet the practice is so ubiquitous that it is difficult to take time-outs from grading. Elbow offers a variety of suggestions for incorporating non-graded writing into a conventional grading system. While freewriting is one method, contracting for a letter grade encourages students to write better through achieving certain tasks. The instructor's comments help students realize that readers intellectually engage with texts, and that good writing facilitates this dimension to texts. Within this context, then, non-graded writing helps to serve the pedagogical aim of the course. The article has an appendix showing a sample `B' contract, a sample `A' contract, and a discussion of the rationale behind the contracts.

Elder, Dana C. "Expanding the Scope of Personal Writing in the Composition Classroom." Teaching English in the Two-Year College, 27.4 ( 2000): 425-433.

Personal essays are difficult for students, who often believe that they need to show some sort of moral lesson learned from adversity. Teachers are often disappointed in the results, since students often fail to find the balance between personal narrative and exposition. One solution is to expand the personal essay by using classical civic discourse forms: the polemic, the suasive essay, and the paradoxical encomium. The author defines each form and gives a taxonomy of the form, as well as comments upon how successful students dealt with the form. The virtue of all of these assignments is that they encourage the personal while connecting it to the community.

Ellis, Edwin S. "Integrating Writing Strategy Instruction with Content-Area Instruction: Part II--Writing Processes." Intervention in School and Clinic 29.4 (1994): 219-228.

Integrated Strategies Instruction Model (ISI) integrates learning strategy instruction with content-area instruction. One part of this model uses writing as a means to get students to think about and apply their content area knowledge. Special attention is given to understanding the writing problems of ineffective writers at the secondary level, especially students with mild learning handicaps. Students are introduced to an executive strategy which uses recursive thinking in order to solve problems, and then taught how to integrate the strategy into a written format. Studies indicate that this method of instruction is successful at improving student performance.

Ernst, Karen. "Art in Your Curriculum." Teaching Pre-K-8. October 1985. 32-33.

Ernst gives an overview of her own art classroom technique. A workshop approach to teaching art in grade school takes away emphasis from producing "art" and places more emphasis upon the thinking and learning necessary for creating art. Students are asked to write about what they learn, thus enabling the teacher to gain insight into their progress and the motivations behind their choices in subject and medium.

Faculty Colloquium on Excellence in Teaching (FACET). "First Days: Generating Discussion from the First Day." Quick Hits: A Series of Successful Strategies Used by Award Winning Teachers, 1992.

Describes techniques used in the classroom by professors from a variety of disciplines, for a variety of purposes: getting discussion going, initiating good peer review or collaborative learning, commenting on student papers.

Fish, Stanley. "Literature in the Reader: Affective Stylistics." Is There a Text in This Class? The Authority of Interpretive Communities. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1980. 70-100.

One criticism of affective criticism is that it muddies the distinction between what a poem is and what it does, yet such criticism fails to account for the process by which the reader's response to a text helps create the meaning of the text. A reader's experience of reading is informed by both the text's discourse structures and the reader's "competence," in the linguistic sense. The gap between these two aspects of reading can only be filled by the reader's sensitivity to language, and therefore affective stylistics can be useful in teaching because it initiates a never-ending process of sensitivity to language. As such, the success of the method is that it "transforms minds."

Freire, Paulo. "The 'Banking' Concept of Education." No citation. 206-219.

Outlines a "banking" model of education, in which teachers deposit their knowledge into students, the receptacles. Argues that this concept of education dehumanizes and oppresses students and mirrors society as a whole. The alternative is a liberatory education, in which teachers pose problems to students and heighten their consciousness. This results in the breakdown of the distinction between students and teacher--all are students and teachers.

Galvin, Kathlen M. "Building an Interactive Learning Community: The TA Challenge." Preparing the Professoriate of Tomorrow to Teach. Eds. Jody Nyquist, Robert D. Abbot, Donald H. Wulff, and Jo Sprague. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt, 1991. 263-274.

Outlines techniques a Teaching Assistant (TA) can use to establish a climate that encourages students to talk and exchange ideas in class. Describes icebreaking exercises, questioning tips, nonverbal ways of managing conversation, and interpersonal skills that encourage students to talk. Also discusses issues of gender, culture, and apprehension about communicating in class.

Glau, Gregory. "The `Stretch Program': Arizona State University's New Model of University-level Basic Writing Instruction." Writing Program Administration 20 (1996): 79-91.

ASU restructured its remedial writing program into a basic writing program by "stretching" the first semester of the required writing courses into two semesters and removing a non-credit remedial course. Although the retention results have varied over the course of a single academic year, a higher percentage of under-represented groups have passed ENG 101, the first of the required courses. One aspect which helps the retention rate is that the new program incorporates more from the composition curriculum than the previous remedial course. While the program still needs to be fine-tuned, the success rate after one year argues that this type of approach might work for other universities.

Graves, Richard L. "A Primer for Teaching Style" College Composition and Communication 25.2 (May 1974): 186-190.

Teachers often remark that they feel frustrated in their attempts to teach writing, while at the same time they devalue teaching style

Hansen, Edmund J. and Richard S. Rubin. "Strategies for Teaching a Student-Centered Large Lecture Course in Public Affairs." Journal of Public Administration Education 3.3 (1997): 329-344.

Documents the effectiveness of various strategies used to teach an introductory course in public affairs to a large lecture class. In order to get students to become more engaged by the material, and in order to encourage active learning, multiple-choice tests were abandoned in favor of writing policy proposals arising from issues covered in a two-week instructional cycle on a specific policy area. Standard textbooks were abandoned in favor of trade books, and lectures were interspersed with videos as well as debates by local policy-makers. Discussion sessions made use of undergraduate teaching interns working with graduate teaching assistants in order to facilitate discussions. Student journals indicated that students felt more involved in the course, and more motivated to devote time to learning.

Hicks, Deborah. "Working Through Discourse Genres in School." Research in the Teaching of English 31.4 (1997): 459-485.

Argues that genre instruction is an effective tool in developing discipline-specific literacy, especially at the grade level. Although whole language advocates suggest that literacy, like language acquisition, is best learned through meaningful social contexts, this view assumes that students can easily transfer from informal to formal (i.e. text) discourse--an assumption true for middle-class students, but not necessarily so for non-middle-class students. Genre instruction, however, makes overt many of the processes which underly the acquisition of formal literacy. Contrary to critics, genre instruction can still be incorporated into the classroom in a meaningful way. Part of the article outlines the process by which one first grade student acquires literacy.

Johnson, David W., Roger T. Johnson, and Karl A. Smith. "The Instructor's Role in Cooperative Learning." Cooperative Learning: Increasing College Faculty Instructional Productivity (ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 4). Washington, DC: George Washington University, 1991. 57-79.

Describes how to set up and conduct cooperative learning groups: how to plan for cooperative groups, how to structure the tasks that each group will be assigned to do, when and how to intervene in a group, and how to evaluate learning and group processes. Also lists cooperative group tasks that are often used: peer editing, checking homework, reviewing for tests, etc.

Joliffe, David A. "The Moral Subject in College Composition: A Conceptual Framework and the Case of Harvard, 1865-1900." College English 51.2 (1989):163-173.

Observes that many contemporary composition assignments invite students to write about moral and ethical issues. This approach to composition, however, is hardly new. Harvard, in the late nineteenth century, although it moved a way from requiring students to write about abstract topics, fostered a climate that encouraged students to moralize upon topics that they have some knowledge of. One aspect of Harvard is that it priviledged the essay, a genre considered to be a moral form. Futhermore, the notion of a "moral aesthetic" was commonplace. Art and culture had to have a moral dimension. Concludes by suggesting that instructors need to think about cultural and personal resources that students bring to bear on their writing assignments.

Kearns, Edward A. "Assignment Prompt." Strategies for Teaching First-Year Composition. Eds Roen, Duane and others. Urbana, IL: NCTE. 2002. 150-151.

Offers suggestions for using newspaper and magazine articles as a means to help students make the transition between personal narrative and more formal types of writing.

Kloss, Robert J. "A Nudge is Best: Helping Students through the Perry Scheme of Intellectual Development." Journal of College Teaching 42.4 (1994): 151-158.

The Perry scheme of intellectual development is one of the few schemes with practical classroom applications. Drawing upon his ten-year experience of incorporating the scheme in his pedagogy, Kloss describes the different stages and offers concrete suggestions on how to challenge students to move from their initial dualist stage to commitment in relativism.

Kratzke, Peter. "It's Time to Get Active: Rockin' Through Grammar in the Freshman Composition Classroom." Composition Chronicle 11.2 (November 1998): 6-8.

Current composition pedagogy avoids grammar, but leaving students to intuit grammar conventions on their own fails as a strategy. Grammar Rock, part of the School House Rock series, provides a useful tool for teachers who want to help students understand the fundamentals of grammar. Students like the videos, and will often ask to borrow them. While students find the videos entertaining, they tend to miss some of the important points inherent in the lessons. For example, the lesson on verbs implicitly distinguishes between transitive and intransitive verbs--a point many students miss. Still, Grammar Rock is a good tool for introducing students both to what works and to why it works.

Kyburz, Bonnie Lenore. "Autobiography: The Rhetorical Efficacy of Self-Reflection/Articulation." Strategies for Teaching First-Year Composition. Eds. Duane Roen and others. Urbana, IL: NCTE. 2002. 137-143.

Although autobiographical writing has come under fire for its subjectivity, autobiographical writing processes can develop a student's critical consciousness by deconstructing familiar pedagogies and developing hybrid pedagogies. Additionally, autobiographical writing can help build student awareness of the relationship between rhetoric and social constructs.

Lamberg, Walter J. "Major Problems in Doing Academic Writing." College Composition and Communication 28 (February 1977): 26-29.

Reports the results of a study of basic writers, which suggests that they have several major problems: lack of self-management skills, lack of a strategy for composing; failure to follow instructions; poor organization; weak content; ineffective introductions; ineffective proofreading; and difficulty understanding or accepting teachers' criticisms.

Law, Joe. "Apprenticed to the Patriarchy? Critiquing the Legacy of Apprenticeship Learning."Unpublished paper presented as part of a panel discussion. No date.

An apprenticeship is one of three instructional models, and one in which the apprentice becomes an expert through acculturation and the transmission of tacit knowledge. While this tacit knowledge can be useful--learning how to do a task by seeing how the expert does the same task--tacit knowledge can also include the accumulation of out-dated patriarchal values. To address some of the issues raised by this sort of transference, the elements of power need to be consciously addressed.

Law, Joe. "Notes from Other Programs: Learning from Harvard." Writing Across the Curriculum 7 (January 1998): 2-3.

The 1992 Harvard Assessment Seminars report that students feel more engaged in courses for which writing is required. The responses from a survey of 365 undergraduates showed that most believe that writing should be emphasized during the junior and senior years, and that learning is most effective when writing is organized around a specific discipline. WAC programs need to take note of the Harvard findings.

Leahy, Richard. "Microthemes: An experiment with very short writings." College Teaching, 42:1 (Winter 1994), pp. 15-18.

Disusses the technique of using microthemes in teaching a Western World Literature course at Boise State University in Idaho. Reading and grading the microthemes; Advantages and disadvantages of the technique; Students' assessment of the technique. (Abstract provided by EBSCO Host).  Full text can be found at:

Leverenz, Carrie Shively and Amy Goodburn. "Professionalizing TA Training: Commitment to Teaching or Rhetorical Response to Market Crisis?" Writing Program Administration 22 (1998): 9-33.

Calls to professionalize TA training respond to three types of pressures: the academic job market, public criticism of higher education, and the rise of composition studies. TA training offers a way for institutions to show their TAs how to build a successful teaching portfolio for the job market. TA training , as a form of professionalization, also avoids criticism for using TAs to teach required courses. Finally, TA training is part of the movement to professionalize composition studies. Rather than see the TA program as part of professionalization, the training program should be more concerned with initiating TAs as classroom professionals.

Livingston, Carol and Hilda Borko. "Expert-novice Differences in Teaching: A Cognitive Analysis and Implications for Teacher Education." Journal of Teacher Education (July-Aug 1989): 36-42.

Compares the thoughts and actions of three expert and three novice teachers from two perspectives--teaching as a cognitive skill and teaching as a performance--and calls for systematic incorporation of teaching experiences in a teacher's preservice training in order to develop appropriate approaches to teaching. The results from this preliminary study indicate that expert teachers tend to use more mental than written planning and to integrate more interactive teaching than novice teachers. Novice teachers, however, tend to spend more time trying to figure out how to present the material and are generally less interactive. From a cognitive perspective, expert teachers have developed schemata for various aspects of teaching, while novice teachers are in the process of developing those schemata.

Madigan, Chris. "Improving Writing Assignments with Communication Theory." College Composition and Communication 36.2 (May 1985): 183-190.

Presents a communication model that includes writer, reader, world, and the message. The basic model: writers relate messages to readers by describing the world in words. Author shows how a good assignment addresses each of these aspects of communication. But this way of viewing assignments might require alternative methods of evaluating the written products.

Maimon, Elaine P. "Collaborative Learning and Writing Across the Curriculum." WPA: Writing Program Administration 9.3 (Spring 1986): 9-15.

Maimon follows Bruffee's definition of learning as an interactive socializing process in which teachers introduce students to the "conversation of culture." She suggests that collaborative learning is part of WAC, if we define writing as a process of critical thinking rather than merely "grammar across the curriculum". Maimon suggests that WAC can transform the college into a "collegium" by using collaborative learning in different forms: among faculty members; as a classroom procedure to help instructors in all disciplines handle paper load; to help students internalize the concept of audience; to create a community through writing acknowledgements; and as a means for creating partnerships between colleges and school districts.

Marius, Richard. "Writing and Teaching Writing." Writer's Craft, Teacher's Art: Teaching What We Know. Ed. Mimi Schwartz. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 1991. 81-90.

A published author answers the question: what have I learned from being an author about teaching writing? Discusses writers' misunderstanding of audience, the difficulties of judging and being judged, the importance of multiple drafts, the desire to share experience.

Masiello, Lea. "Ten Tips for Creating Your Own Topics." Write at the Start: A Guide to Using Writing in Freshman Seminars. Charleston, SC: University of South Carolina, 1992. 15-25.

Lists suggestions that instructors can use in designing topics for writing assignments.

Masiello, Lea. "Write It More Than Once: The Benefits of a Process Approach." Write at the Start: A Guide to Using Writing in Freshman Seminars. Charleston, SC: University of South Carolina, 1992. 19-25.

Outlines the various stages of the writing process, from invention to final proofreading. Considers how various stages of the writing process help incoming college students adjust to the university and learn about themselves. Offers a model for integrating the writing process into a freshman seminar course.

Mertz, Norma T. and Sonja R. McNeely. "How Professors 'Learn' to Teach: Teacher Cognitions, Teaching Paradigms, and Higher Education" April 1990, Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, 22 p.

Examines the attitudes of 15 faculty members in 5 disciplines toward the teaching aspects of his/her position. A major finding is that each of the professors interviewed held one of four different paradigms of teaching--transmission of information; communication with students; "doing" the discipline; and personal development. Paradigm choice had no necessary relationship to the disciplines studied.

Moore, Leslie E., and Linda H. Peterson. "Convention as Connection: Linking the Composition Course to the English and College Curriculum." College Composition and Communication 37.4 (Dec. 1986): 466-xxx.

Presents an approach to WAC, and a model for a freshman year composition course, that involves teaching students how to use conventions in various disciplines. Points out that convention assumes shared knowledge between reader and audience, between writer and other writers, between writer and literature. Argues that faculty in English can teach conventions of other disciplines. Article describes a course that uses these principles, drawing on expertise of other faculty in various disciplines, but taught by English dept. faculty.

Moore, Randy.  "Helping Students Succeed in Introductory Science Courses: How Valid are Students' claims about their Course-Related Behaviors?"  Journal of College Science Teaching.  (February, 2004): 14-17.

The study looked at the responses and behaviors of 611 introductory biology students taught by the same instructor through the same method.  Although students believed that the majority would report their course-related behaviors accurately, empirical evidence shows that the majority of students are not reliable responders.  Student misrepresentation gives instructors poor feedback in trying to improve teaching.  One possible solution would be to emphasize the rewards for good study approaches rather than penalize poor approaches. 

Nelson, Craig E. "Biology program encourages more thoughtful teaching techniques." Campus Report (Indiana University-Bloomington) 11.8: 4-5.

This article summarizes how Indiana University's associate instructors in biology are trained through the course, L555 - "Alternative Approaches to Teaching College Biology." Four primary questions are raised and discussed: What are alternative forms of teaching escellence and how do these differ across teaching contexts? How does the way we teach relate to what we want to accomplish? How might teaching objectives vary with course level and focus? To what degree do our educational goals and processes serve the interests of industrial society?

Nelson, Craig E. "Collaborative Learning With Both Role-Structuring and Content-Structuring." Handout from Nelson's Biology class, Indiana University Bloomington.

Describes the author's techniques using collaborative groups to analyze reading assignments. Uses a worksheet students are to prepare before the class period in which the reading will be discussed. Then during class, students in small groups discuss the reading, identify the author's main points, and evaluate the argument.

Nelson, Craig E. "Creation, Evolution, or Both? A Multiple Model Approach" Hanson, Robert W., ed. Science and Creation: Geological, Theological, and Educational Perspectives. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1986. 128-159.

Nelson uses the origins controversy to underscore two main points: that, because of its uncertainty, science can accommodate a range of hypotheses, and that, because each hypothesis involves underlying assumptions and implications, scientists are able to make choices according to the impact of these choices upon our current understanding of scientific principles. The origins controversy helps illustrate these points because the debate has often invoked a false dichotomy either between atheistic science and religious belief, or between science and pseudoscience. By acknowledging that evolutionist thought can range from atheistic to non-theistic to gradual creationist theories, and by indicating that creationist thought can range from gradual to quick creation theories, science teachers have the opportunity to show how different people make choices according to their underlying assumptions and their beliefs about the implications of the different theories. After summarizing the different positions, Nelson concludes that such a presentation allows respect for religious pluralism while encouraging students to see why scientists think that some theories are better rather than encouraging them to believe those theories.

Nelson, Craig E. "Critical Thinking and Collaborative Learning" New Directions for Teaching and Learning 59 (Fall 1994): 45-58

Nelson introduces key aspects of the pedagogy of critical thinking and their relationships with collaborative learning. He suggests that it is important to learn how to explain why incorrect responses occur, in addition to providing the disciplinary expectations of a subject. Students need to move beyond a dualistic approach (yes/no answers) or a multiplistic approach (all answers are equally valid) to one of contextual relativism, where they learn the criteria for judging alternatives in a specific discipline. Nelson includes some examples of in-class exercises to accomplish this level of critical thinking.

Nelson, Craig E. "Discussions for Deeper Learning: An Example Using Role-Structuring, Content Structuring and Small Groups." No citation.

Nelson offers tips on running discussion sections for topics which have no right answers. In leading a discussion of a search for meaning, the key is getting the students to figure out how to express what is not understood. Nelson provides sample worksheets and explains how students should prepare them before discussion and use them during class to facilitate and evaluate discussion.

Nelson, Craig E. "Every Course Differently: Diversity & College Teaching -- An Outline." No Citation.

Presented in a flowchart style, the outline moves through a variety of questions that, according to Nelson, instructors need to ask themselves in order to become aware of their own (often unconscious) ideological biases. The questions are grouped according to how they fall with respect to categories like "Basic Language and Ideology," "Course Content," Grading and Its Presumptions," and "Class-room Practice." Nelson provides some brief references under some of the questions, but the citations are not complete. The document and reference style suggest that this outline is part of an oral presentation.

Nelson, Craig E. "How to find out more about college teaching." Work in Progress

Nelson provides an annotated bibliography of books and articles on teaching. He offers information about handbooks, classroom assessment, discussions, teaching evaluations, cognitive development, learning styles, diversity, etc.

Nelson, Craig E. "Student Diversity Requires Different Approaches to College Teaching, Even in Math and Science." American Behavioral Scientist 40 (1996): 1665-175.

Although math and science seem to be free of cultural bias, traditional pedagogical approaches favor students from middle-class backgrounds. Instructors need to recognize this situation and effect two changes. First, instructors need to change assessment to emphasize what is learned rather than what is taught. Second, instructors need to see themselves as guiding all students in the mastery of a specific discipline, not as gatekeepers. Pedagogical strategies are included to show how these changes can be effected with minimal effort on the part of the instructor and without watering down course content.

Nelson, Craig E. "Tools for Tampering with Teaching's Taboos." New Paradigms for College Teaching. Campbell & Smith: 1997.0 (Working draft of invited chapter)

The academic cultural taboo regarding knowledge of teaching rests on the assumption that beyond preparing content, teachers are either effective or ineffective, depending upon some innate quality. Nelson, however, argues that incorporating active learning techniques improves the quality of classroom teaching, yet these techniques are independent of the individual instructos' personalities. Specific exercises in how to prepare students for discussion and how to encourage participation by all students are explained in detail, as well as their underlying pedagogical purposes. Such exercises are also useful in getting students to improve their critical thinking skills. By incorporating active learning techniques into the classroom, instructors are able to allow students to progress from seeing "just the facts" to an awareness that "facts" are often the result of positions taken by experts in the discipline, based upon a consideration of values and trade-offs. By focusing on student learning rather than upon merely presenting content, instructors discover that effective teaching also means that instructors need to consider their underlying assumptions regarding the value of different critical thinking skills.

Nelson, Craig E. "Valuing Diversity in the Educational Process." Proceedings of the National Science Foundation Workshop on "The Role of Faculty from the Scientific Disciplines in the Undergraduate Education of Future Science and Mathematics Teachers." National Science Foundation Publication 93-108: 71-74.

This article synthesizes a panel discussion on recognizing diversity as a resource, not a problem, into 9 key points. It calls for an examination of the unintended biases and ideologies that are implicit in teaching science, and suggests that teachers can adapt new teaching strategies, such as active, collaborative learning, to reach a more varied student body. In addition, the panel suggests that science teachers should utilize some of the existing research on the topic of teaching diversity

Newkirk, Thomas. "The First Five Minutes: Setting the Agenda in a Writing Conference." Writing and Response: Theory, Practice, and Research . Ed. Chris Anson. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 1989. 317-331.

The writing conference situation requires that instructor and student set a mutual agenda within the first few minutes of the conference, or the conference will feel pointless. The initial exchanges in three conferences are presented by way of showing the degree of effectiveness in establishing a mutual agenda. The implications from the comparison involve the observation that the first few minutes are crucial in setting the direction and tone of the conference, that effective agendas are limited to one or two major concerns, that teachers need to be careful not to fix on a problem early on in the conference (especially true if the teacher has marked the paper up before the conference begins), and that the teacher should help maintain focus without being overly directive.

Nold, Ellen W. "Alternatives to Madd-Hatterism." The Territory of Language. Ed. Donald McQuade. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois UP, 1986. 269-283.

The problem for many teachers is that they will tell a student to write better, but not teach the student to do so. In order to teach composition, the instructor needs to be conversant with its processes. Young students (K-5) first need to become proficient in mastering a grapholect, a norminalization of regional dialects necessary for communicating to a wide audience. As students gain control of the grapholect, they can then turn their attentions to communicating their meaning to an audience in an effective way. First year college students especially need to understand that the form of the essay may vary in response to the nature of the subject matter. If teachers have a firm sense of the different stages in the process of composition, then they are in a better position to show writers how to master the particular stage the writer may be in, and how to move to the next stage in the process.

Olson, Carol Booth. "The Thinking/Writing Connection." Developing Minds: A Resource Book for Teaching Thinking. Ed. Arthur L. Costa. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1985. 102-107.

Connects writing and thinking processes. Presents a lesson plan to be used at grade-school level that supposedly encourages students to use all levels of thinking (knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation) and all parts of the writing process (prewriting, precomposing, writing, sharing, revising, editing, evaluation).

Onore, Cynthia. "The Student, the Teacher, and the Text: Negotiating Meanings through Response and Revision." Writing and Response: Theory, Practice, and Research. Ed. Chris Anson. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 1989. 231-260.

One of the advantages of process writing is that it allows the writer to engage with the material in a deeper, more sophisticated way. The assumption is that process that involves this sort of engagement will automatically result in a better text. This is not necessarily the case. In preliminary study of the effects of teacher commentaryupon three students' writing, the student whose work was judged most improved was also the student who had resisted any problematic engagement with the material, while the student whose work was judged to have declined throughout the process was the student who had engaged more deeply with her material. Theresults of the study did indicate that writing can be used to further inquiry, but the methodology was flawed.

Parker, Palmer J. "The Teaching Behind the Teaching." To Know as We Are Known. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1983. 33- 46.

Lists 4 assumptions of the traditional college classroom: the focus of study is always outward, toward the world rather than inward; the inner self is never examined; the knowing self is isolated from others; therefore, the teacher and students "become manipulators of each other and the world rather than mutually responsible participants and co- creators." As an alternative, relates a parable of another way of teaching.

Paul, Richard. "Teaching Critical Thinking in the 'Strong' Sense: A Focus on Self-Deception, World Views, and a Dialectical Mode of Analysis." No citation. 2-7.

Discusses how not to teach critical thinking (as a set of technical skills without larger contextual issues), and how to teach critical thinking. Argues that critical thinking needs to be taught in a dialectical or dialogic way--as arguments in relation to counterarguments. Lists means of evaluating a course on critical thinking taught in this way, and some "basic theoretic underpinnings" for such a course. Argues that multicategorical ethical issues are ideal for teaching critical thinking.

Peterson, Linda. "Repetition and Metaphor in the Early Stages of Composing." College Composition and Communication 36.4 (Dec. 1985): 429-443.

Peterson uses a series of drafts of a statement by Richard Wright about his autobiography Black Boy to illustrate how repetition and metaphor are used by a writer at various stages in the writing process. She suggests that these are often generative strategies to be used in the early stages of the writing process, and should be differentiated from the later stage of editing for style and clarity. Repetition and metaphor often help the writer clarify meaning to themselves. Most expository prose then becomes a way of working out the implications contained in the metaphors used.

Raybin, Ron. "The Technique of the Infelicitous Alternative." ERIC Document ED049249.

Illustrates the use of a teaching device in literature or composition classes: the infelicitous alternative, or "the find-out-what-it-isn't-to-discover-what-it-it approach." The basic approach: present a poor alternative to the correct or desired characteristic or wording, and have students tell you why that isn't as good as the actual wording, characteristic, etc.

Rayne, Ann. "Precis Writing: An Approach to Basic Composition" College Composition and Communication 23.4 (Dec 1976): 403-406.

Presents a sequence of assignments to explain how she teaches precis writing in her freshman composition classes. One helps students generate a precis from an original text; the other assignment uses a successful precis to illustrate the strategy she wants them to use. The final assignment has students compare different student-written precis to determine general guidelines for how to write a successful summary.

Rose, Mike. "Remedial Writing Courses: A Critique and a Proposal." College English 45.2 (1983):109-128.

The traditional approaches to teaching remedial writing courses fail to allow students to develop the strategies and structures necessary for academic prose. The article lists five major problems with basic writing courses along with various solutions to those problems.

Scheinberg, Cynthia.  "Cognitive Apprenticeship as Pedagogical Strategy: Introducing Conversacolor."  The National Teaching and Learning Forum. 6.12 (2003): 1-4.

Cognitive apprenticeship refers to guiding novices to understand abstract concepts through concrete examples.  In-class discussions usually offer this apprenticeship through engaging in the readings and course concepts, but these discussions neglect discipline-specific writing.  Conversacolor provides a pedagogical technique for structuring class discussions in such a way as to make students aware of the structural aspects of idea development.  Students are given colored cards that represent different types of statements (new idea, transitions, clarification, etc.) and must categorize the statements they make according to the cards in their hand.    The visual aid helps students understand  the role of discourse mapping that differentiate expert from novice writers in the discipline.

Schleppegrell, Mary J. "Grammar as Resource: Writing a Description." Research in the Teaching of English 32.2 (1998): 182-211.

Uses a study of the writing produced by 128 middle school students in order to argue that functional grammar analysis can help teachers identify which grammatical structures are useful for a specific writing task. Teachers can use this information to draw students' attention to the range of grammatical choices available in order to accomplish the task. The explicit instruction in the grammatical structures present in specific writing genres can help ESL and non-standard dialect speakers make their work fit more closely with socio-cultural expectations of academic writing.

Schriner, Delores K. and Matthew Willen. "The Facts on Facts: Adaptations to a Reading and Writing Course." College Composition and Communication 42.2 (May 1991): 230-238.

Schriner and Willen explain how they've adapted David Bartholomae and Anthony Petrosky's approach to teaching basic writing as outlined in Facts, Artifacts and Counterfacts: Theory and Method for a Reading and Writing Course. In order to accommodate the different cultural background of their students -- their university has a high percentage of Native American and Mexican American students -- they have had to shift away from Bartholomae and Petrosky's emphasis individual experience to social and community experience.

Svinicki, Marilla. "Practical Implications of Cognitive Theories." New Directions for Teaching and Learning 45 (1991): 27-37.

Principles of cognitive psychology offer practical ways of improving teaching practices. All these principles are based on the key assertion that learners actively construct their own understanding. Given the validity of this assertion, both student and instructor roles are redefined in that students become more aware of how their own practices affect their learning and teachers become more aware of their role as facilitators in the learning process. For teachers to become facilitators, they must organize both course and content in a way consistent with the way in which learning takes place, and they must help students learn how to learn. Practical examples are given in order to show how these tasks are translated into action.

Shaughnessy, Mina P. "Expectations." Errors and Expectations: A Guide for the Teacher of Basic Writing. New York: Oxford University Press, 1977. 275-294.

Describes the improvement in writing skills (mainly at the sentence level) of basic writers after one or more semesters of writing instruction. Gives examples of improvement. Lists skills to be acquired in a course or courses for basic writers. Suggests questions to be considered in designing such a course: what the goals should be, how material should be introduced, etc.

Sheils, Merrill. "Why Johnny Can't Write." Newsweek, December 8, 1975. 58-65.

Students ' writing skills are declining at an alarming rate. Reading skills have also deteriorated, which means that students are less familiar with the conventions of "book English." To a certain extent, the decline in reading has been blamed on the increase in television viewing. Also, the time devoted to writing instruction has decreased in response to efforts to make the classroom more creative. In addition, contemporary linguistic theory holds speech to be primary over writing. Finally, teachers themselves often lack the qualifications to teach writing since their accrediting institutions do not require courses in writing. Some attempts to reverse the decline are mentioned, all of which recognize the link between writing and thinking.

Slawski, Carl."Rival Hypotheses about Teaching and Facilitating Learning.6 pp.

A chart comparing typical assumptions of teachers and students on modes of teaching undergraduates in large public universities versus the principles, ideas, and rules facilitating learning held by the author.

Smit, David.  "Improving Student Writing."  IDEA Papers, 25 (Sept. 1991). 

Although instructors often bemoan the "crisis" in writing, the crisis has existed for over a hundred years, perhaps indicating that the crisis is more a function of attitudes and expectations than it is a result of how students write.  Still, most students do not write "well enough" because they spend less than 3% of class and homework time writing more than a paragraph.   Instructors can include assignments meant to foster workaday writing skills as well as develop more formal writing.  Suggested types of assignments are offered.  Full text is at

Smith, Raymond. "Sequenced Microthemes: A Great Deal of Thinking for Your Students, and Relatively Little Grading for You." Teaching Resources Center Newsletter.

This article responds to a Campuswide Writing Program survey of nearly 300 faculty members about the degree of writing used in their courses. While the motivations for assigning writing varies widely, nearly all of the respondents demand writing assignments from their students, although instructors cite that the time involved in grading is a major drawback. The use of sequenced microthemes, however, allows instructors to foster critical thinking skills or other abilities in their students without adding an inordinate amount of time in grading. Smith includes two different sequences of assignments--one from his Shakespeare course and the other from a journalism course--designed to enable students to grasp important concepts and become prepared for later, more difficult work.

Stout, Roland. "Writing in the Science Curriculum: Methods that Work Both as Writing and as Science." Conference paper.

Writing in a freshman chemistry course helps students to think clearly and become engaged with scientific concepts in a variety of ways. The bulk of the presentation is taken up with explanation of different sample assignments designed either to get students to understand specific concepts or to get students to understand chemistry in a broader context. Sample assignments include: a term paper, two-step writing exercises, abstracting, multipart questions, and writing in cooperative learning activities. While most assignments come from freshman level courses, a few are from upper division courses.

Tassoni, Paul. "The Libaratory Composition Teacher's Obligation to Writing Centers at Two-Year Colleges." Teaching English in the Two-Year College, February, 1998. 34-43.

Writing centers at two-year colleges may still spend more time on surface-level concerns, despite research that shows that tutorials dealing with higher level concerns generate better results. One problem is that centers at two-year colleges lack a stable pool of peer tutors trained in working with higher level concerns. Composition instructors can help by introducing their own students to peer-tutoring techniques. Such critical practices will enable students to engage in a more dialogic relationship with texts. These students will be better prepared to make writing centers in two-year colleges more democratic in the sense that tutors will be less authority figures correcting grammar and more partners in the process of developing critical awareness.

Tedlock, David. "The Case Approach to Composition." College Composition and Communication 32 (October 1981): 253-261.

Argues for the use of "cases" in writing assignments--self-contained statements of "real-world" situations that describe writing situations instead of prescribing them.

Tollefson, Steve. Encouraging Student Writing, A Guide for Instructors. Office of Educational Development, Berkeley, CA: University of California at Berkeley,1988.

Chapters for faculty discuss how to construct writing assignments, how to evaluate written work, how to avoid plagiarism. Chapters for students discuss theses, introductions, active vs. passive voice, how to write research papers.

Walvoord, Barbara D. Fassler. "Considering Goals and Options for Writing in Your Course."Helping Students Write Well: A Guide for Teachers in All Disciplines. New York: Modern Language Association, 1986. 6-28.

Lists purposes for incorporating writing into a course, and discusses the types of writing that might accomplish those purposes. Discusses types of writing done in class (write-to-learn exercises, essay exams, etc.). Emphasizes the importance of defining an audience and a context for writing for the students. Describes how to sequence assignments from easier to harder.

Walvoord, Barbara D. Fassler. "Course Plans: Some Case Histories."Helping Students Write Well: A Guide for Teachers in All Disciplines. New York: Modern Language Association, 1986. 123-140.

Presents case histories of teachers from a variety of disciplines who have incorporated writing to learn into their courses. Describes the context of each course, the types of writing assigned, how papers were evaluated, problems with the course designs, etc.

Walvoord, Barbara D. Fassler. "Planning to Coach the Writing Process."Helping Students Write Well: A Guide for Teachers in All Disciplines. New York: Modern Language Association, 1986. 29-110.

Redefines the teacher's role as writing "coach" rather than "judge." Then describes the writing process and how to get students involved in their writing and how to help them pace their writing. Analyzes several assignments as students should do. Discusses how to help students at all stages of the writing process, with all sorts of problems.

Walvoord, Barbara D. Fassler. "Principles of Effective Response."Helping Students Write Well: A Guide for Teachers in All Disciplines. New York: Modern Language Association, 1986. 141-161.

Defines 3 types of response: written, taped, and face-to-face. Discusses different levels of response (simple reaction as a reader, analysis of a problem, suggesting solutions). Gives guidelines for fitting response to the paper, setting goals, using praise, being thorough and specific, and naming and summarizing. Discusses relationship between grading and responding.

Walvoord, Barbara D. Fassler. "Responding to Problems in Grammar, Spelling, and Punctuation." Helping Students Write Well: A Guide for Teachers in All Disciplines. New York: Modern Language Association, 1986. 234-240.

Distinguishes performance-based from knowledge-based mechanical problems. Gives strategies for dealing withperformance-based mechanical problems: stop reading after a certain number of errors and require revision before continuing to read; incorporating mechanics into the paper grade; teach proofreading skills. Also suggests ways of helping students with knowledge-based errors: the writing center, specific instruction in grammatical rules, etc.

Walvoord, Barbara D. Fassler. "Using Student Peer Groups." Helping Students Write Well: A Guide for Teachers in All Disciplines. New York: Modern Language Association, 1986.111-122.

Describes two types of peer groups: the response group, in which each student brings a piece of writing for feedback from the group; and task groups, in which the group works as a whole on a single piece of writing. Discusses how to deal with problems in each type of group, how to set up groups, and other techniques.

White, Edward H. "Designing Effective Writing Assignments." Teaching and Assessing Writing. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1985. 100-119.

Suggests strategies and techniques for developing and pretesting essay topics or prompts to be used for large-scale written tests. Warns of pitfalls in essay topic development, importance of pretesting, and problems of choice in topic selection. Discusses types of discourse (explanatory, persuasive, expressive) that can be tested.

White, Edward M. "Post-Structural Literary Criticism and the Response to Student Writing." College Composition and Communication 35.2 (1984): 186-195.

Writing teachers have embraced postmodernist principles, largely because those principles coincide with the findings of recent research on writing. Poststructuralism recognizes that meaning is distinct from expression. This assumption plays into the writing teacher's awareness that invention and revision are necessary parts of a process by which a writer comes to grasp with that which was previously unknown. The writing process, then, implies that what is written is a "trace" of the mind. In addition, poststructuralism assumes the importance of writing within a discourse community, which has important implications for teaching writing.

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