IDEA Paper #48 By David Smit from Kansas State University
Student writing seems to be suffering presently, and there are things we as educators can be doing to improve this for our students. There are many reasons why this is happening, the most obvious of which being that there is not enough instruction on how to write. It can be easy to blame students’ poor writing habits on factors other than our own teaching but we can improve student writing by finding new and exciting ways to implement this in the classroom at all ages.
Some areas and ideas for how to engage students in writing:
1.Writing to learn
- Short and impromptu writing assignments
- Written for the benefit of the writer (student) above all others
- Does not require much commentary from instructor.
- Rhetorical writing
- Giving clear objectives
- Engage students beginning with the problem/material/content
- Activities with peer interaction
- Emphasize process
These strategies elaborate on two writing styles and some possible ways to allow students more opportunity to practice their skills in these areas.
Additional Resources and Strategies for improving student writing:
- For strategies on helping students who are having difficulty with writing, Carnegie Mellon as wonderful problem solving resources. https://www.cmu.edu/teaching/solveproblem/strat-cantwrite/index.html
- For ideas on how to use writing as a learning tool rather than as assignments for students to simply meet, visit University of Waterloo. https://uwaterloo.ca/centre-for-teaching-excellence/teaching-resources/teaching-tips/developing-assignments/cross-discipline-skills/using-writing-learning-tool
- Edutopia gives insight as to how writing to learn comes about and what steps students may need to take in order to get there. https://www.edutopia.org/blog/college-readiness-writing-to-learn-ben-johnson
- Indiana University provides ideas on incorporating and grading writing. https://citl.indiana.edu/teaching-resources/teaching-strategies/incorporating-grading-writing/
- Washington St. Louis provides this link to an article that will talk about giving students feedback on their writing (or how not to) https://teachingcenter.wustl.edu/2018/02/alternative_feedback_student_writing/
- To learn more about writing support and how to address this issue visit Harvard’s Bok Center website. https://bokcenter.harvard.edu/writing-support
- For information on how to teach writing visit Brown H.W. sheridan’s learning resources. https://www.brown.edu/sheridan/teaching-learning-resources/teaching-resources/teaching-writing