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Writing Across the Curriculum

ECE 311: The Teaching Profession
Writing in the Majors Guidelines
Professor Andrea Zakin

Role of Writing

The Teaching Profession is one of the four courses in the undergraduate education minor. It is intended to introduce students to seminal issues in and aspects of the field of education. In this writing-intensive class, students experience a variety of writing genres that are germane to the discipline of education. Students can expect to engage in narrative, informative, persuasive, reflective and analytical writing. There will be a variety of informal writing exercises. Their purpose is to help students make sense of issues, ideas, and texts. They both scaffold and form the basis of assignments and discussions in class and online. In several informal assignments, students record observations (such as fieldwork entries), respond to ideas (in class texts and explored in class), and use writing as a means of discovery and investigation.

In this course, informal writing informs formal writing so that both are interconnected and interdependent. There are two formal papers. One formal piece is a paper/presentation, completed in small groups, that examines a topic in education. While each student is responsible for his/her particular subtopic, other parts of the paper are written collaboratively. Presentations are interactive in nature and take the form of a debate, short skit, or TV interview, to name a few possibilities. Each student will also write a final fieldwork report in the form of letters based on his/her fieldwork experiences.

In this course, students learn with and from each other. They work as partners and in small groups with instructor support to assist each other with their writing assignments and interactive class activities that incorporate writing and art. There are weekly writing assignments that take place in class, at home and on the Blackboard discussion board. Formal papers are short in length to promote extensive editing and proofreading. Opportunities for multiple revisions on Blackboard support the process of writing formal papers. A writing-intensive course does not necessarily mean that there is more writing than usual but that writing is the core of what we do, and should be purposeful and meaningful.

Disciplinary Writing

In this course students will gain facility with the following genres or types of writing:

  • Informative/descriptive/reflective journal writing including: fieldwork entries, informal responses to class texts and observational activities.
  • Persuasive writing including: school and curriculum design, preparation for class debate, and a group paper on a topic in education.
  • Research/analytical writing including: critiques and responses to theoretical texts, responses to peer writing, and final papers in the form of letters that integrate theory and practice.
  • Writing to think/note-taking/letter/narrative writing including: preparation for small group discussions and interactive class activities.
  • Narrative writing/letters about effective teaching practice.

Expectations of Students in a WIM Course

In this course students will:

  • Respond to class texts and fieldwork on Blackboard and in-class discussions according to established criteria (16-20 postings from each student).
  • Respond to other students’ postings and formal writing.
  • Reflect on the relationship between their personal experiences, the class texts and central issues in the education field.
  • Develop a formal paper. Students are expected to review prior work and extract salient points, relate theory and practice, and reflect on their experiences.
  • Display basic knowledge of grammar and the mechanics of writing in formal papers.

Expectations of Faculty in a WIM Course

In this course the professor will:

  • Provide clear goals and procedures and post these online.
  • Provide continual feedback according to assignment criteria.
  • Provide personalized responses to student writing, on-line postings, and in-class contributions. 
  • Provide opportunities for revision of formal papers.
  • Create an interactive/sharing community through in-class activities and online engagement.
  • Develop class activities that are structured to facilitate both peer support and instructor feedback.
  • Provide clear criteria for student evaluation.

Criteria for Assessing Student Writing

There are several forms of writing in class, all of which contribute to the final grade.

Characteristics of effective informal writing include:

  • Use of personal voice.
  • Descriptive, non-judgmental language.
  • Clear direction toward a particular purpose.

Formal assignments will be assessed using the following criteria:

  • Understanding of course material.
  • Understanding of the conventions of academic writing.
  • Creation of coherent arguments.
  • Use of logical, persuasive writing.
  • Use of personal voice.
  • Addressing each component of assignment.