Monday, May 18, 2009

Gardner, Traci. Designing Writing Assignments

Gardner, Traci. Designing Writing Assignments. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English, 2008.

This slim volume offers numerous examples of effective writing assignments, but is probably most useful for the overview of how to design writing assignments in the beginning and the underlying teaching philosophy listed in the appendix at the end (“[National Council of Teachers of English] Beliefs about the Teaching of Writing”). Though appropriate for pre-college instructors as well, for college instructors, the book offers useful advice such as: Provide more information about writing assignments to students (as that generally results in better student writing) (1-2), put the assignment in writing so students have something to refer back to beyond their class notes of your discussion of the assignment in class (3), and don’t raise issues of grammar too early as that can short circuit student writing “by shifting attention away from exploring and focusing on the message” (21). The book is available through OhioLINK.

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