ERIC Number: ED339037
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Sep
Improving Student Writing. Idea Paper No. 25.
Smit, David W.
It is maintained in this paper that the "crisis" in writing is more a function of instructors' attitudes and expectations than a result of how students actually write. There are various reasons to question the crisis, for example: while the results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)--the most careful test of writing ability for grades 4, 8, and 12--are disappointing, the NAEP is not a "normed" test and indeed there are no national norms or standards for determining how well students write. In addition, writing is extremely complex; teacher approach it with different criteria in mind and therefore often disagree about what constitutes good writing. The paper maintains that the most obvious reason students do not write well is that they do not receive much instruction in writing and they rarely write. After offering examples of how "workaday" writing (such as notetaking, journals, freewritings, and microthemes) could be used in classrooms, the paper discusses two ways of teaching the process of formal writing (the natural process and structured learning), describes the characteristics of each, and recommends some combination of the two methods. Finally, the paper outlines five steps for incorporating formal writing into college courses, discussing specifically how such a teaching strategy would work for a course in American history and giving an extensive list of possible writing forms, as well as some hypothetical assignments. Fifteen references are included. (PRA)
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: Kansas State Univ., Manhattan. Center for Faculty Evaluation and Development in Higher Education.