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SGarza: HowCanWeMakeSureStudentsUnderstandThatTheirWritingIsOrCanBePartOfALargerCommunityDiscourse


I think it begins with the understanding that they are in school for a reason and that is to learn the skill of writing and build on it, since they will be doing it in the next few years, while they're in college. In addition, they need to understand the many types of writings, purposes, and audience. With that being said, the instructor should probably follow the curriculum that many other institutions have their students do. According to Anne Beaufort, "the norm for teachers to require multiple drafts and to hold peer review and individual conference sessions before students turned in final drafts. Curricula guidelines stated an expectation that teachers assign a personal essay and short papers in the first course, gradually increasing the length of essays assigned and incorporating instruction in the research essay in the second course. Curricula guidelines also highlight a variety of topics that could be addressed in the courses as well: the discourse modes (narration, description, argumentation, etc.), matters of unity, coherence, style, and proper documentation in academic writing" (33). From what I can observe in this reading, the instructor has the choice to choose a theme-based course or not, but I think it should not be a theme based course because then it limits the students choices in topics. While one topic, such as environmentalism can have many subcategories, it still might not be many or all students care for, rather it should be a non theme-based course. I do agree that every institution has their share of problems as Beaufort states, "the problem of students' less than adequate writing skills are overshadowed by more pressing educational and institutional issues" (32). And for more reason, an instructor should focus on each class, each semester, and take it one class meeting at a time because there will always be problems within the institution or something else.


WAC seems to me to be a good way to set up opportunities for students make connections between disciplines, which will help them join more conversations. Since wAC is student centered and reflective, it also allows student writing to be expressive and exploratory. Even though the acronym for this pedagogy spells "wac', I think it is really cool. Today one of the objectives, or goals, of Composition is to find an audience and communicate to it effectively. By writing accross the curriculum, students can see the more practical aspect of finding an audience to speak to. Last semester, when my students had to choose an audience to write to in their presentation, I think many of them were confused becasue they think their only audience is their teacher. I think that using WAC could help students understand the different discourse communities and what is expected in each of them. Writing to the self and then to an audience seems like a natural progression because the writer has to have a clear idea in their own head before they can effectively communicate it to an audience. At the risk of sounding lame, I also really like the idea of non-graded assignments. For example, the mathematics notebook helps students learn how to articulate a clear question about the problem they are attempting to solve. A student must be able to point out their own shortcomings before they can ask for help with a particular task.

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Page last modified on March 09, 2009, at 06:20 PM CST