Creative writing coursework

Drawing on the work of critical and feminist theorists, Bruce outlines a synthesis project that invites students to con- sider how they have come to know what they know about a topic of personal interest and then to compare their personal episte- mologies with those revealed in scholarly discussions of the topic.

The assignment helps students recognize the constructed nature of both personal and public knowledge. From these explicitly personal assignments, the section moves to an argument assignment that requires students to consider their beliefs and values through a more objective, critical lens. Draw- ing on feminist notions of argument as well as traditional rhe- torical creative writing coursework concepts such as kairos, Margaret Strain explains how she complicates and deconstructs the adversarial, two-sided ar- gument form by requiring students to create polylogues on con- troversial topics. According to Strain, the assignment helps students understand not only the complexity of most social is- sues but also the highly constructed nature of personal opinions. Approaching argument from another angle, Mary Mulder shows how critical and liberal-humanist pedagogies can be successfully mingled to promote thoughtful analysis, meaningful research, and compelling persuasive writing. The section continues with three essays that explicitly chal- lenge conventional notions of research writing. Through her Save the World project, which encourages students to use a variety of research methods and persuasive forms, Ahlschwede makes the point that anyone can inspire change.

Yet, while they both emphasize the benefits of uniting form with func- tion, creative writing coursework Gerken focuses more on how experimenting with nontradi- tional research forms can Kelp students express their own voices and develop a sense of themselves as writers. Like Ahlschwede and Gerken, David Seitz is interested in nontraditional forms. His ethnographic research assignment, which requires four to five weeks of observations and interviews, offers students an important alternative to traditional library research and prompts them to investigate innovative reporting methods.

The collaborative project, which prompts multiple forms of writing, gives students a chance to imagine audiences outside of the immediate classroom. Be- cause they compare their work to that of traditional print news- papers, students learn much about the different rhetorical challenges that accompany different discourse forms.

Teachers, therefore, are expected to incorporate these activities into the classroom while allowing for the recursiveness and uniqueness that accompany individual writing efforts. At the same time, teachers must include a range of other activities that encourage student development — xxvii — Introduction but may not lead explicitly to the production of a final, polished text — activities that improve critical reading, research, or discus- sion skills.

Besides illustrating numerous practices that directly support the completion of major writing assignments, then, con- tributors to this section describe a variety of ancillary activities, including dialogic reading responses and journal writing.

They also creative writing coursework demonstrate how seemingly universal methods are shaped by local needs and values. The section opens with veteran high school teacher P.

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They re- sist, at first, his unconventional approach but eventually come to understand that the key to good writing is making effective rhe- torical choices — choices that may or may not conform to tradi- tional conventions. Through reading and reflection, Powell realized how her own subject position as a woman of color at a predominantly white university contributed to classroom dynamics, but, instead of blaming the students, she adjusted her methods, incorporating student-centered discussions, informal response papers, and rhetorical analysis to help students grapple with creative writing coursework contested topics. The journals that Haswell and McLaughlin describe func- tion as prewriting or invention strategies because they help stu- dents generate ideas before they draft more formal texts. With the next essay, the section turns toward strategies that can be used after students complete a draft. Like a traditional hard-copy collection, a hypertext portfolio demands that students bring together everything they have learned through- out the semester. Yet, as Mclntire-Strasburg explains, because Web portfolios require different reading strategies, they can pro- vide unique opportunities to emphasize rhetorical principles such as audience. Part IV: Teacher Response and Evaluation Responding to and evaluating student writing are critical com- ponents of the work of writing teachers.

Because writing teachers always seem to be looking for ways to make their evaluations more useful and meaningful, there is a long and rich history of advice on how to respond and evaluate — from using checklists and rubrics, to conferencing, to employing holistic grading. Contributors to this section discuss these methods and other, more recent trends, such as reflection and self-evaluation, which offer important opportu- nities for students to become critical readers of their own texts and to participate more fully in the assessment process. While it is tempting, and perhaps all too typical, to regard writing assessment as something added on to the end of an as- signment or semester, the contributors see their response and evaluation methods as fully integrated into their course designs.

Although the assessment methods presented here may not be radi- cally new, each essay offers a unique glimpse into how particular methods can be adapted to meet specific needs and goals. Using checklists for response, argues Nickoson-Massey, helps make criteria explicit because it guides both the feedback students receive and the discussions they have 29 — xxx — Introduction about writing and revising. In addition to the response checklist, Nickoson-Massey uses a list of grading criteria that students de- velop collaboratively for the final course portfolios. This approach allows him to cover creative writing coursework more ground in less time and encourages students to be active participants in the response process. All of this fits within a port- folio system of assessment that requires students to include re- flective, metacognitive letters with all of their revised work. Up to this point, the contributors have been college writing teachers discussing college classrooms. Manning, Annie Knepler, and David Jolliffe, reports on the results of a col- laboration between the authors and Chicago public school teach- ers.

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