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Thoughts on Writing Pedagogy

Before embarking on the journey of teaching students to write, it is important to study scholars who have reflected on the many ways teachers approach pedagogy. This page provides a brief overview of some of these pedagogical stances.

Writing center pedagogy is often confused with remediation, but in reality, writing consultants and composition teachers both have similar goals: to help students write concisely and coherently, to help them establish their authority, and communicate their messages effectively. Writing center pedagogy is a focus on the writer and meeting the specific needs of the writer in a one-on-one tutoring setting without the constraints of teaching. Students view tutors as mentors and collaborators rather than critics or evaluators, providing positive affect and supportive instruction.

Expressive pedagogy similarly focuses on the writer's personal development with an emphasis on voice, style, and expression rather than analysis and rhetoric. Personal narratives are often used in classrooms with an expressivist approach. Burnham asserts that expressivists make use of freewriting, journal use, reflections, dialogue, and collaborative feedback to build writers' confidence, and aid their overall development (Tate, Rupiper, & Schick, 2001).

Rhetorical Pedagogy is less centered on the writer and more centered on the written product. It is the study of effective language use, stylized discourse,audience, argument, and the "rules" and nuances of writing. It is rooted in the classical works of early Greek and Roman scholars such as Socrates, Aristotle, and Cicero.

Critical Pedagogy invites the writer to examine social structures and institutions that limit the freedom of individuals. The critical perspective develops an analytical and evaluative writing approach with an emphasis on social justice. It is at work in classrooms where the voice of the student is respected, and where students receive direction on how to clarify and make their perspective known to others.  Ann George describes the aim of critical pedagogy as enabling students to “envision alternatives” and “assume the responsibility for collectively recreating society” (Tate, et. al, 2001, p. 97).

Basic Writing Pedagogy refers to the inclusion of students in academia who don't meet traditional standards for college level academic writing. Attention to developing student writing skills may focus on the basic elements of writing, error correction, and linguistic development.

Process Pedagogy focuses on the writer's development in stages--prewriting, drafting, revision, and publishing. The writing process is recursive or iterative rather than linear. It recognizes writing as a personal and varied practice rather than an established, standardized domain. Erika Lindemann  describes the process of writing as problem solving--specifically knowledge, language, and rhetorical problems--and revision as a series of repeating the processes (Lindemann, 2001).

Collaborative Pedagogy views the writer within a social context. Writing is a joint effort, including contributions of many voices and perspectives, melded into a cohesive piece.

Community Service Pedagogy elicits a response from the writer based on the social service activities the writer engages in. Students are motivated to write as a means of reflecting on what they learn in their service to others.

Writing Across the Curriculum Pedagogy (WAC) is a university-wide initiative to develop writing skills specific to the discourse community students engage in. WAC is grounded in genuine inquiry, allowing students to extend and apply learning by probing and processing topics more deeply.

Attached are three writing reflections written during my study of writing pedagogy. I selected these reflections because they address issues I deal with in the writing center. These include error correction and the basic writer, process pedagogy draft and revision, and critical pedagogy that gives rise to student participation in democracy.

Resources:

Tate, G., Rupiper, A., & Schick, K. (2001). A guide to composition pedagogies. New York: Oxford University Press.

Lindemann, E. (2001). A rhetoric for writing teachers. 4th ed. New York: Oxford UniversityPress.

ĉ
Geri Murray,
Dec 5, 2010, 5:08 PM
ĉ
Geri Murray,
Dec 5, 2010, 5:08 PM
ĉ
Geri Murray,
Dec 5, 2010, 5:08 PM
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