Understanding Writing: Theories and Practices
Understanding Writing is an introduction to composition studies, an area of English that focuses not on literature but on the processes of writing, with emphasis on how we can best learn and teach writing. Although this course is housed in the English discipline, it is intended for writers in any major who are interested in examining their own writing processes and learning about theories of writing. The course also prepares students to work in UMM's Writing Center.
We'll investigate composing and revising processes, teaching and tutoring practices, collaborative learning, academic discourses, educational systems, and some of the ideological and cultural factors that affect our experiences of these things. Discussions, writing assignments, and (in some cases) Writing Center work will allow us to further examine the ideas and test the theories about writing and teaching that we encounter in our readings. Among the questions we'll be considering:
- What is good writing?
- What are our own composing processes?
- How do writers learn how to write in particular fields or disciplines?
- What can teachers and tutors do to help students learn to write more effectively?
- How is knowledge created or distributed in the classroom?
- How do we characterize the relationship between individual and collaborative learning?
- To what extent does teaching formal grammar improve student writing?
- How do social, cultural, or linguistic backgrounds affect writing and the teaching or tutoring of writing?
- What are the political and ethical responsibilities of teachers and tutors?
We will start from the assumptions that writing is a process with many stages and that all writers, no matter how accomplished or successful, can benefit from thoughtful feedback on their writing. We will examine the ways in which writing is shaped by disciplinary conventions and the areas of difference and overlap among those conventions. Our exploration of these issues should help you not only to assist others with their writing but to become more aware of your own writing processes and to grow as writers yourselves.
- Norton Book of Composition Studies (Miller)
- St. Martin's Sourcebook for Writing Tutors, 4th ed. (Murphy & Sherwood)
- Working With Student Writers, 2nd ed. (Podis & Podis)
last updated: Monday, 14-Oct-2013 17:23:07 CDT