Five suggestions for improving students’ writing in your course, regardless of the subject

By Jennie Ferris, Teaching and Learning Services

A recent University Affairs article concisely articulates five key points from John Bean’s book Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom, 2nd edition (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2011). Bean encourages instructors to identify assignment genres, inform student of how the writing will be evaluated, provide opportunities for revision, incorporate low-stakes assignments, and inform themselves of services offered by the campus writing centre. To check out the book itself, access the online version; a hard-copy version is also available from the McGill Library [PE1404 B35 2011 [Regular Loan] Humanities and Social Sciences – Education Collection (McLennan Bldg, 2nd floor)]

Readers, what do you think? Have you used some of these approaches, and did they work? What other ways can students’ writing be improved?

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