CCCC 2018 Pittsburgh Panel Proposal

Samuel Stinson and I are putting together a panel to propose for Cs next year in Pittsburgh. Potentially, we could submit this for consideration as the standing group panel, but if it is not chosen for that, we will still submit normally. We are looking for two or three others to join us in a roundtable discussion of different approaches to WAW, the differences in theory and axiology behind them, and how WAW proponents should understand, discuss, and debate these differences. The following is our current draft of the proposal introduction:

How do you WAW? Enacting Writing about Writing pedagogies: Which one? What is your goal, and by what should your performance be Measured?

Writing about writing (Downs & Wardle 2007) has become an increasingly popular approach to teaching first-year writing courses, but as with writing instruction in general, individual instructors enact and perform WAW differently (see Downs & Wardle 2012). While Wardle and Downs (2014), as the most well-known WAW proponents have largely downplayed the significance of these variations in WAW, with Downs going so far as to say that “there really isn’t a wrong way to do things; there are practically infinite number of good ways” to teach a WAW course (296), choices about how to implement, to perform, WAW in a classroom imply differences in theory, axiology, and, therefore, desired outcomes. Other approaches to WAW (see Bishop 2004; DeJoy 2004; Dew 2003; Sargent & Paraskevas 2005), while they all forward writing studies scholarship as content, select different scholars, require different assignments, and seek to see different developments in students’ writing, requiring that both students and WAW approaches be assessed differently in order to avoid the category mistake of teaching for one result but assessing for another (see Fulkerson 1979).

In this roundtable, the speakers will each briefly describe their WAW course and the values (axiology) that underlie their choices about which writing concepts, purposes, and pedagogical commitments they emphasize in their courses. Second, the presenters will discuss what WAW proponents should do with the diversity of values evident in different approaches to WAW.


We are particularly looking for presenters who employ WAW approaches that focus on language, literacy, writing studies as a discipline, identity and culture, etc. My own contribution will be on the hybrid TFT-WAW approach we’ve implemented as our standard FYC curriculum at my institution. We’d like as wide a variety in the 4 or 5 presenters as possible. If you are interested, contact me at with a brief summary of your WAW course.


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