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Center For Academic Excellence

Writing Center | More Writing Without More Work

By now, it's fairly common educational knowledge that the writing process is a vital part of the learning process. Students who write about what they are learning tend to retain and understand more comprehensively. Many teachers, however, still avoid giving written assignments in the belief that their work load will grow exponentially. And it can. But it doesn't have to. Here are some suggestions that will make you a more effective teacher without having to slog through stacks and stacks of papers!

  1. At the beginning of class, have each student write one question or one idea from the reading for the lesson. Take up the cards and read them quickly to
    see how they can fit into the lesson.
  2. In the last five minutes of class, have students write on what they got out of the class and what is still puzzling them, including any questions they may have for you. Use these to begin the next class.
  3. Have students pair off for twice-weekly journal writing. Each student will respond to the work that is going on both in and out of class, writing at least two pages of response for each other. These may focus on academic problems in the course or on affective issues about the course. Then twice a semester, take up the journals and glance at them; the main assignment, however, is for each student to write a profile of his or her partner, stressing successes and struggles (with specific details) of the course (4 - 5 pages).
  4. Have students find something outside of class that connects to what they are studying. Ask them to write one-page responses and reactions to the connections. Just check weekly (and I mean walking by desks to see that they are doing the work. Take your grade book to make it look official.) Collect these responses at the end of the semester.
  5. Have students write letters to people in the real world, explaining how some phase of their studies (theories, processes, methods, data) is relevant to the work of that company or business.


Produced by MUSC's Writing Center - Under the direction of Professor Tom Waldrep

Jennie Ariail, Ph.D. - Director
Tom Waldrep, Ph.D. - Director (retired)

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