Monday, April 27, 2009

McGeary, Signian. "The 'Just Right' Challenge"

McGeary, Signian. "The 'Just Right' Challenge." Writing across the Curriculum. Ed. Mary T. Segall, and Robert A. Smart. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 2005. 57-62.

Richardson (see previous post) was trying to guide his students in what we might call a “learning to write” assignment, wherein students develop the writing practices valued by their specific discipline. But writing can also be used as an instructional technique which can primarily focus in aiding students to learn the content of the course. In “The ‘Just Right’ Challenge,” Signian McGeary describes how she used “low-stakes writing to foster mastery of classroom material” (58). She utilized various writing exercises such as an in-class assignment that asked students to explain an anatomical process to help students learn concepts in occupational therapy and found that “The students appear to have much better overall understanding of the basic foundation that allows for ease of transition to a higher application demand” (59). This may be because the writing exercises forced the students to do more than rote memorization of the material. In the assignments, they had to think about the concepts on their own in order to successfully explain them to someone else.

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