improving student writing skills

Writing versus Thinking Skills: A False Dichotomy

When I first began teaching philosophy, I had a standard comment on assignments for students whose writing was unclear:

While you understand the content, you are having trouble getting down on paper what you know. Note the areas that I marked as

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responding to teacher feedback

Responding to Feedback via Cover Letter

The main assignment is a traditional research paper, in this case one for a psychology research methods course. Drafts of each of the paper’s four main sections are due separately and returned with teacher feedback. The final version of the paper is submitted with a

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grading papers

The Failure of Feedback

“Good job”

“Vague”

“Grammar”

Do they look familiar? Students are used to getting the bulk of their feedback as these sorts of “margin comments” running down the side of their papers. Unfortunately, such comments are of almost no value to the student, because he or

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students studying at library

Mind Mapping Can Improve Papers

I mainly teach undergraduate writing and research methods classes and wanted to share my experiences with mind mapping, also referred to as concept mapping. I’ve found that using it can significantly improve student papers. It’s an excellent innovation that requires student writers to visualize how

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What Types of Writing Assignments Are in Your Syllabus?

Thanks to the Writing-Across-the-Curriculum movement we are having our students write more and we’re using a wider range of writing assignments. Right?

If that’s what you’re doing, it’s consistent with the actions of faculty teaching undergraduate sociology courses; as documented by an analysis of 405

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