The Dangerous Blog for Grad Students

A How-To Tale

“The Pedagogy of Writing Across the Disciplines” Precis October 28, 2008

Filed under: Precis — deduvick @ 5:13 am
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Susan McLeod

It is important for students to be prepared to meet all kinds of writing in their college education.  They are not quite receiving that training in their high school years; instead, their learning is measured by fill-in-the-blank and multiple choice tests.  How easy it is to forget that there are so many different standards for writing out there, that our way is not necessarily the high way.  That is why it is important for teachers across the disciplines to listen to each other and learn from each other.  Not only are our styles of citations different, but our preferred verb tenses, our prose style, our formating and what we value as facts.  If we don’t understand these things about each other, we will only succeed in confusing our students and frustrating them to the point of their producing no decent work.

Instead, we can focus on two types of writing – for learning and for communicating.  Writing for learning may take the form of some kind of journal, where the student can wrestle out their thoughts and their ideas of how concepts tie together with no fear of being graded or judged, though the teacher may give them feedback in this outlet.  It gives them a chance to hash out what they are thinking, but also to experiment with styles.  Writing to communicate is going to produce more polished work – pieces that have been written and rewritten, revised and edited, presented to peers for feedback and those comments taken into consideration.  This needs to have a great audience than just the teacher for the student to realize the magnitude of what they are working on and the audience with whom they would be communicating.  It is not simply a test of what they have learned, but an opportunity to teach it to someone else.

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