The Eyes of a Writer: A Strategy to Improve Student Writing

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  1. Linda Macaulay


    Would you be willing to share the graphic organizer you give students that need the extra support? I would love to oncorporate that into my process. (

    1. Linda Macaulay

      Incorporate, that is! (Maybe I need the rubric for my own writing!)

  2. @DrBruceJ

    Hello Dr. Gehsmann:

    Thank you for providing a very insightful post.

    You’ve talked about a challenge that many educators face – students who continue to make the same mistakes.

    Let’s consider now what happens when you take the time to provide very detailed feedback and students do not respond to you. What do you do when you provide meaningful feedback and the student does not respond to that feedback? In addition, you find that they are continuing to make the same types of mistakes. What is your reaction to this situation?

    When this occurs, here are some questions to consider:
    Do you believe that they are reviewing the information, policies, procedures, and feedback you’ve provided?
    Do you also believe that they are able to comprehend and understand the information provided?

    One approach that can be utilized is the use of Socratic questioning. Socratic feedback is a method of inviting students to reflect upon their work, leading them deeper into the topic. Do you think that this would be helpful, as a means of engaging the unresponsive student by encouraging a conversation and interaction with them? This is also a challenge for online instructors because they aren’t physically present to check in with students about their progress.

    Dr. J

  3. Jay Bidal

    The use of models is useful, but one of the problems students have is that they have difficulty understanding how the writer of the model achieved his goals. In other words, they don't understand the "process" of good writing when faced with a blank piece of paper, even if they know the "Process" of brainstorming, outlining, drafting, and editing.

    To help student writers understand the "process" of writing, the cognitive apprenticeship approach is worth considering. It involves modeling the thinking processes of a good writer by having the instructor write parts of an example assignment in front of the class and giving voice to the myriad of mini-decisions a good writer makes as they construct their sentences, paragraphs, and arguments. In time, the instructor involves students in making those decisions by eliciting from them what the writer should do next, or how best to link two ideas, etc. Students then try on their own to apply the principles and thinking processes to their own writing, and the feedback cycle starts.

    I've found this approach to be effective, and students seem to appreciate the lack of pressure at the start.

    Jay Bidal

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