Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Writing Power

"Among full-time students, 29% said they had written four or fewer papers of any length during the current school year."

Mary Beth Marklein, "Report: Community Colleges Must Expect More," USA Today, November 16, 2008.

The Community College Survey of Student Engagement shows a mixed bag of experiences across 343,000 students at 585 community colleges.

"Colleges that keep expectations high also need to create an environment that enables success."

"The real story is that good writing assignments are definitely a good thing. When courses provide extensive, intellectually challenging writing activities...students engage in a variety of positive activities. They are more likely to analyze, synthesize and integrate ideas from various sources. They grapple more with course ideas both in and out of the classroom. And they report greater personal, social, practical and academic development."

"Faculty who encourage writing multiple drafts are also likely to emphasize approaches to learning that call on students to think critically and reflect on their learning."

Writing is thinking so first drafts, for most of us mortals, are usually very messy things. It took me too many years to recognize and practice the art (and pain) of drafting. What a miraculous idea for teachers to reward the drafting process. We need to become a nation of writers.

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