UNCP Faculty Corner

Reading & Writing

This is a discussion of reading and writing intended to discover what faculty across the campus would like students in their disciplines to be able to do in and with writing.  How do faculty perceive their students’ preparation for close, critical and informed reading of a variety of texts in their various disciplines?  To what extent do faculty provide discipline-based instruction in reading and writing, especially in upper-level courses?


1 Comment »

  1. I thought I would pass along comments I’ve heard recently from students. In a small-group meeting recently, one student said, “Man, I hate writing papers.” Another agreed. I asked how writing papers in college was different from writing papers in high school and continued to tease out their answers about what made writing challenging. I also asked what faculty could do to help them write better papers or generally do better on assignments, and I asked their permission to pass on their ideas. Below are their responses — these are not exact quotations, but they’re close.

    * I’m busier now than in high school; I’m taking a lot of credit-hours, and I have a job.
    * Sometimes the professor assigns a paper on Monday and it’s due Friday.
    * Some professors will “take off” for things they didn’t tell us about in advance (what citation format, or not using “I”)
    * When assignments are made verbally, it’s hard to get it straight.
    * Sometimes a paper duedate will be on the syllabus, but the readings or resources to do the paper are not available until shortly before the duedate.
    * Sometimes a test will be postponed, and you don’t know about it until you show up to take the test — you could have chosen to spend your study time differently.

    These add up to some basic pedagogical advice that we have probably heard before:

    * If an assignment is important, put it in writing. (This has the benefit that it forces you to think more clearly about what you want students to do.)
    * Give students time to draft and revise (“a weekend!” they say)
    * Keep to your stated schedule, or use BlackBoard / email to notify students of changes.
    * Make your expectations clear up front.

    FWIW, thought you might be interested in these comments.

    Comment by Anita R. Guynn — February 5, 2009 @ 9:14 pm

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