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College Writing Program | What Teachers Should Do

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  • Literature
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    lit@american.edu
    Battelle Tompkins, Room 237

    Rangel-Mullin, Rebecca
    Sr. Administrative Assistant

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The following are the ways teachers should address the skills and ideas students should gain from the College Writing course sequence:

Concepts of Teaching Writing

  • Incorporate writing–through lessons, discussions, activities– into every class session. 
  • Create your course around a unifying theme to give the course an intellectual arena in which to focus writing. 
  • Reinforce the idea of writing as process through the sequencing of assignments and multiple drafts of assignments. 
  • In order to maximize the students’ resources and experience, hold writing workshops or peer reviews. 
  • Offer meaningful, appropriate, and thorough feedback, including attention to the College Writing Program Grading Criteria, on all major writing assignments. 
  • As some students are better served by one-on-one instruction, hold regular office hours and mandatory student conferences throughout the semester. 
  • The class must meet during the scheduled final exam time. LIT-100 must include a final exam.

Develop Writing Skills

  • Assign 3-4 major essays in a range of academic genres: narrative, critical analysis, researched essay, oral history, profile, proposal, textual critique, etc. An essay that sustains an argument for eight or more pages should be included. 
  • Assign 20 pages of polished writing for LIT-100 and 25 pages for LIT-101; both page requirements could include a revision of a major writing project. 
  • Require, as a matter of course, multiple drafts of major papers and provide students with strategies and opportunities for revision. 
  • Teach students that a thesis and its development are key to the success of every essay, including narrative essays, non-traditional essays, and essay exams. 
  • Emphasize the importance of correctness in grammar and punctuation in establishing credibility and authority with an audience.

Develop Reading Skills

  • Early in the fall semester, make meaningful use of the Writer as Witness text. 
  • Choose a range of texts (non-fiction and fiction) to serve as models and sources of discussion/analysis; students should examine a variety of genres. 
  • Promote and model original and critical reading/thinking through class discussion, activities, or one-on-one instruction. 
  • Ensure that students understand your individual commenting style so that they can interpret your feedback.

Develop Research Skills

  • Emphasize how “research” informs almost all writing by crafting assignments that require students to draw on traditional and non-traditional research methods. 
  • Encourage students to use the DC community and local resources in their research and writing projects. 
  • Arrange a class visit with your assigned reference librarian partner some time in the fall semester, preferably to coincide with the first major research project. 
  • Teach students how to incorporate research, in particular scholarly research, to effectively support their argument. 
  • Teach students how to accurately document their sources, correctly format MLA citations, and construct an MLA-style Works Cited page. 
  • Emphasize the importance of the Academic Integrity Code and the consequences of violating it; offer students strategies for avoiding unintentional violations.