Writing Center Workshops
Stay Tuned: Fall 2019 Workshops To Come Soon!
The Writing Center offers assignment specific in-class workshops for undergraduate and graduate students that are meant to complement and/or supplement the writing instruction that takes place within courses. In order for these workshops to be most effective, you need to provide us with the following:
- A copy of the course syllabus & the assignment you are currently working on.
- The assignment’s rubric or grading criteria.
- An example of what you deem as exemplary work for this assignment.
We then will meet to discuss your particular expectations for the assignment as well as the needs of your students in order to decide on a workshop focus.
In order book a workshop and discuss workshop possibilities, please contact Rachel Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep in mind that there is a waiting list each semester and faculty on this list get first priority in scheduling. Thus, we recommend booking your workshop early in the semester as our schedule quickly becomes full.
Why can’t you do one general workshop that will address all my student’s needs or why assignment specific?
- “Becoming a better writer requires that students write. This means actual writing for real audiences, not merely listening to lecture about writing, doing grammar drills, or discussing readings” (NCTE).
- “There is no writing in general, and thus no single class or workshop or experience can teach people to write once and for all. . . context, audience, purpose, medium, history and values of the community all impact what writing is and needs to be in each situation” (Wardle 30-31).
The above two statements, for me, offer the most compelling reasons to offer workshops that are active where students work on real writing assignments they complete for class. This ensures that these workshops are helping students write for authentic audiences in specific disciplines and contexts (i.e. your class).
When should I schedule my workshop?
As close to the assignment deadline as possible. Students who do not feel compelled to apply what they learn right away will forget what I have taught when they sit down to write for a distant deadline. Alternatively, you can schedule a workshop when a part of parts of the assignment are due so students have a frame of reference and experience to draw on when learning the new writing strategies being presented. You must, however, provide the opportunity for revision so students can apply what they learned.
How much improvement should I expect and how can I help my students continue to grow as writers?
Cognitive sciences research has provided much insight into how students learn to write. Centrally, what has been found is that a “writer’s syntactical fluency improves in tight correspondence with knowledge of their topics” (Dryer 73). What higher educational professionals must keep in mind, therefore, is that that learning to write in new disciplines and genres is not a step-by-step linear process starting with the basics. Much of this is due to the limitations of working memory, so that learning new information, whether it be subject matter or new disciplinary conventions, will often crowd out what students already know and lead to making basic writing mistakes involving sentence structure and grammar (Dryer; Quinlan et al.; Kellogg).
Even more importantly, since students are forging new neurological connections, you must reinforce what was taught in the workshop by consistently referring to the strategies and concepts introduced using similar language and the handouts provided. Writing scholars like Ron Kellogg in “Training Writing Skills: A Cognitive Developmental Perspective” and Patrick Sullivan in A New Writing Classroom: Listening, Motivation and Habits of Mind both cite research on neuroplasticity that emphasize the importance of thoughtful, continued practice for students when learning about writing. The materials provided in workshops will also be available in the Writing Center for students to use during their tutoring sessions.
Do I need to attend/participate?
YES! Not only do students need your input and expertise as they work on your assignments, but there is some information only you can provide as the creator of the assignment and assessor of their final products. Even more importantly, your presence and participation not only signals to your students that writing is important to you, but also facilitates your ability to reinforce what was learned.
How many workshops can I schedule per semester?
There is a maximum of two per class per semester limit. Mainly, this limit exists in order to ensure that more faculty and classes have access to this resource.