ERIC Number: ED272894
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Feb
Reference Count: 0
The Collaborative Description Paper.
Saunders, Martha A.
Although student writers will accept evaluation more readily from their peers than from their instructors, beginning writers in particular hesitate to offer suggestions to another writer because they do not want to hurt their fellow students' feelings, and because they do not feel they know enough to evaluate someone else's work. The collaborative descriptive writing project works well in helping students overcome these fears and feel at ease with their classmates. As used in a developmental writing class, the project involves only a one paragraph paper, assigned early in the semester. Class discussion prior to the assignment concerns the use of concrete detail and a discussion of relative words that do not describe precisely, such as "tall." Students are then paired with other members of the class, and each pair is assigned to describe some location on the campus. Students visit the site separately, and record their visual, aural, olfactory, and affective observations on a sensory chart. The student pairs then collaborate on writing a piece of description about their assigned location, but without naming the place in the paper. They must agree on their dominant impressions and on the arrangement of the information. Through this process of coming to agreement, the students discover that suggestions and evaluations can be positive instead of merely negative. The pairs elect a reader who presents the paper to the class, and class guesses the location described. The assignment encompasses the various learning styles students bring to the class, teaches in a fairly painless way the importance of concrete specific detail and audience awareness, and allows students to become more comfortable with making suggestions to their peers about a piece of writing. (HTH)
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Practitioners; Teachers
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Conference on English in the Two-Year College (21st, Memphis, TN, February 20-22, 1986).