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Writing about Writing Processes: Self-regulation and Process logs

Writing about Writing Processes: Self-regulation and Process logs

Ryan Roderick, Husson University | Bangor, ME, USA

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In this post, I consider how WAW pedagogies might benefit from research on self-regulation of writing. Self-regulation refers to an ability to monitor and control knowledge and practices in pursuit of a goal. Drawing on self-regulation research, I present a prompt I call the “process log” that encourages students to self-regulate their writing. Then, I analyze some of the process logs I’ve collected as part of IRB-approved studies, to offer some examples of what researchers might learn when using process logs as an artifact of analysis. Ultimately, I suggest that WAW courses might use the process log as a way to encourage students to write about writing processes.

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When was the last time you wrote something that you struggled with, and what did you do that may have helped or hindered your progress? If you can answer this question, then you are likely demonstrating at least some self-regulation strategies.

We know well that what works for someone in one context might not work for a different someone or a different context. Nevertheless, some strategies are creative and helpful. For example, the faculty member working on a manuscript is able to schedule deliberate interruptions that allow her writing to incubate by doing laundry while she writes (Prior and Shipka).

In contrast, other strategies for writing do not seem as helpful. Like the student who is stuck in a cycle of repeatedly procrastinating and then busting out essays shortly before the deadline, which are subsequently met with a failing grade from the instructor and the student’s regret for not having used more effective strategies (Cleary).  

As a writing teacher, I want to know what effective and ineffective strategies might look like across diverse writers and contexts in order to help students develop an ability to recognize and adapt their own writing strategies as they encounter difficult or unfamiliar situations. In other words, I ask: How might a writer’s self-regulation strategies correlate with their writing, and how might we help students develop their knowledge about self-regulation in the context of a WAW classroom?

In the rest of this post, I suggest that WAW courses could benefit from self-regulation research to help students in WAW courses write about writing processes. Self-regulation research offers a structure to prompt students to more consciously self-regulate their writing, and it serves as a lens through which to write about writing processes. In the following four sections, I first touch on self-regulation as a theory, then discuss how I’ve drawn on this theory to create a “process log” protocol that prompts students to self-regulation, and I analyze some examples of student logs in order to model an approach to writing about writing processes.

Link to any of the four sections below:

  1. What is self-regulation?
  2. Prompting students to self-regulate: The writing process log
  3. Two Studies: Analyzing process logs as artifacts of self-regulation
  4. Working Conclusions: Using Process Logs to Write about Writing Processes

What is Self-regulation?

Rooted in socio-cognitive theories of writing (Flower) and educational psychology (Bandura), self-regulation of writing refers to the conscious or unconscious processes that individuals use to monitor and manage thoughts, feelings, and practices in order to pursue goals (Pintrich; Zimmerman).

Socio-cognitive theories of self-regulation (Zimmerman & Risemberg) often differentiate among three dimensions:

  1. A writer develops motives and goals for writing;
  2. A writer implements a set of practices for making progress; and
  3. A writer self-evaluates and reacts to progress as it unfolds.

While sometimes presented linearly, these dimensions operate recursively as part of the rhetorical context of writing. Motives, goal-setting, writing practices, and self-reflection each inform the other. For example, the faculty member working on a manuscript who sets a laundry load to interrupt her typing deliberately builds in opportunities to self-regulate.

This theory of self-regulation has informed how I’ve prompted students to self-regulate on their own writing. In addition, I’ve used this theory as a lens to identify and interpret patterns of self-regulation reflected in student logs.

Prompting students to self-regulate: The writing process log

To help students recognize and develop their self-regulation practices, I have been asking students to keep a “process log.” The process log consists of a series of short-answer questions that prompt students to reflect on their writing process (Li; Riazi; Segev-Miller). 

There is a rich body of scholarship on self-regulation of writing that spans K-12, post-secondary, and graduate levels (e.g. Harris and Graham; Negretti and Mezek; Castelló et al.). Self-regulation plays a key role in a writer’s expertise (Beaufort & Iñesta), and teaching students self-regulation strategies can help a diverse range of students in grades 2-12 develop the quality of their writing (Harris and Graham).

Instead of teaching students explicit strategies, the process log allows self-regulation to emerge more organically as students compose. 

The kind of log I ask students to keep uses a series of questions that turn a writer’s attention to setting goals, monitoring, and evaluating progress (Figure 1). Thus far, while some students occasionally see this as “busy-work,” many have told me they find these questions helpful for writing, especially when they feel “stuck.”

Figure 1. Process log questions used to prompt students to self-regulate their writing process.

Once completed, the logs provide a fascinating window into the challenges that emerge for students and the strategies they use to cope.

Granted, the process log, like any in-process protocol, is not without its limitations. A student’s self-regulation practices are already altered from what they might have been by responding to the log entry questions. Like an iceberg, there is always more going on beneath the surface that is left unarticulated.

Despite their limitations, process log entries offer evidence of self-regulation in action, which can help us learn about writers from different backgrounds, contexts and the writing practices they use at a particular time and place. In other words, it is the similarities and differences in student responses to log questions that I find most interesting.

Two Studies: Analyzing process logs as artifacts of self-regulation

Study 1: Comparing self-regulation strategies among student writers

In mid-2010s, I compared process logs from four graduate students enrolled in a seminar on writing center research (Roderick 2019). This seminar was part of the students’ training to work as a tutor in the university writing center. As part of the seminar, each student was assigned to write a research proposal that dealt with an issue relevant to research on writing centers. Throughout the project, they recorded process logs, and I wanted to see what self-regulation strategies they used and how those strategies correlated with the writing they produced.

The comparison revealed patterns of goal-setting and problem-solving that appeared to align with their success on the project. Here is one example of self-regulation strategies that emerged in the two graduate students whose final drafts were characterized as most successful (names are pseudonyms).

 [My paper is] kind of like in chunks. The sources are not integrated very well. And I also am struggling to figure out like, is prosody its own section or should it be part of the section about the importance of intonation in general? (Kara)

I have this feeling that I do not trust my writing, because if I’m understanding it more as I’m writing about it, that means my draft is probably going to reflect someone who’s thinking and learning as opposed to delivering information. So, maybe its writer-based prose and I have not yet moved to reader-based prose. (Connor)

Each of these writers responds to a challenge by developing new goals. In addition, both of the most successful students reported the project helped them develop their knowledge about writing. In contrast, the two writers who had less success either glossed over the difficulties or vented on the difficulty without appearing to overcome it.

While the above comparisons places the emphasis on writers and their habits, it is also important to understand how these habits might be prompted by contextual factors that emerge at the level of curriculum and assignment.

Study 2: Comparing self-regulation across FYC curricular contexts

More recently, my focus has shifted to explore how context might be “intertwined” in students’ self-regulation strategies (Negretti). To do so, I am comparing logs from students enrolled in two different FYC curricula. One group whose FYC curricula focuses on composing research that “contributes” to social issues (Charney and Neuwirth). The other group is drawing on personal experience and primary sources to compose a short ethnography (Cook et al.).

By comparing these two groups, I’m looking for patterns in self-regulation that might be unique to each group, and exploring how those patterns might correspond to elements of the curricular context. My more focused questions include:

  • To what extent are patterns of student self-regulation similar or different between institutions and curricular approaches to first-year writing?
  • How might unique patterns of student self-regulation be linked or disparate from the social context of the curriculum?

To pursue these questions, I am comparing process logs from students in two different groups of FYC students, which I refer to as group “ethnography” and “contribution.” The ethnography group includes first-year undergraduates at a small, private teaching-oriented university who have been instructed to use an ethnographic approach (field notes, artifacts, informant interviews) to write about a culture that is accessible yet unfamiliar to them.

In a separate institution and curriculum, the contribution group includes first-year undergraduates at a larger, private research-oriented university, who are instructed to write a thesis-driven argument that “contributes” to a body of sources that represent different perspectives on a contentious social issue.  

I’m hoping these comparisons can teach us more about how pedagogical approaches to FYC encourage or discourage self-regulation practices.

Emerging findings indicate that, compared to the ethnography group, the contribution group set a significantly higher proportion of goals that were multi-layered and hierarchical. These goal hierarchies include goals that are explicitly interdependent, such as when someone says,

 [When planning my research] I was hindered by how broad/well-known “activism” as a term is. I need to start looking for more specific articles, or reevaluate how I’ll obtain a “definition.” (Contribution Log Entry)

In this contribution log entry, the student creates an interdependent goal when they respond to difficulty defining “activism” by realizing they “need to start looking for more specific articles or revaluate” their knowledge about the subject matter. Compared to the ethnography group, the contribution group’s logs explicitly linked goals together occurs more frequently (comprising an average 20% of contribution logs vs. 15% of ethnography logs; p<.05).

Why did contribution group logs mention more interdependent goals? My scope restricts an exhaustive answer. Instead, I want to focus on just one factor: the way sources were involved in in students’ goal-setting.

There’s something interesting in the way contribution group involves sources in their logs. Contribution students’ goals for using sources tend to be more diverse. For instance, students mentioned sources, such as “papers” and “articles” were linked to the following set of interdependent goals:

  1. Contribution students involve sources with goals for “structuring” writing

I think my final structure would not explicitly follow the IMRD nor the problem-solution structure. To figure this out, I will consult all of the example papers we looked at in class and examine the choice of structures in the papers. (Contribution Log Entry)

  • Contribution students involve sources with goals for concept-building

[When planning my research] I was hindered by how broad/well­known “activism” as a term is. I need to start looking for more specific articles, or reevaluate how I’ll obtain a “definition.” (Contribution Log Entry)

  • Contribution students involve sources with goals evaluating knowledge

My hypotheses about the opinions of Greenwald and Simon regarding gun control were also incorrect, so I will have to find a different angle to include them or other readings from class into my topic. (Contribution Log Entry)

The above examples suggest contribution students involved sources as a means to not just develop knowledge about what to write about, but they also used sources to inform their knowledge about the genre expectations relevant to their paper’s “structure.”  

In comparison, ethnography students did not involve sources with goals for structuring their writing, save for one exception. This is surprising since sample student essays from previous semesters were made available for students to reference.

What ethnography students did do is use sources goals for goals to develop knowledge about subject matter.

My goals for this session are to gather all of my artifacts for this project, and to begin analyzing my artifacts so that I can later include them into my paper. (Ethnography, Log Entry)

I also want to make sure that I look over my interviews once again to be able to make sure that I got all the information that I needed out of them and into my writing (Ethnography, Log Entry)

These examples reflect how ethnography students involve sources with learning what to say, such as when gathering “artifacts“ to “include…into my paper” and using “interviews” to get “information…into my writing.” In addition, the terms artifacts and interviews emerge from assignment (and curricula’s) focus on ethnographic methods. In contrast to contribution students, evidence does not suggest a pattern of ethnography students mentioning sources for goals other than to gather and include information in their paper.    

While there is still more to learn here, these initial comparisons begin to highlight examples of how self-regulation strategies are “intertwined” with the social contexts of writing, as Negretti & Mezek put it (30; see also Negretti, 170). For instance, the comparison in study 2 (above) draws attention to the way that expectations around using sources might be involved in students’ goal-setting. While the ethnography group valued sources for their information, the “contribution” group treated sources as part of a conversation, and those students appear more likely to involve sources for goals related to knowledge about subject matter and rhetorical concerns like “structure.” 

It might be tempting to accuse the ethnography curriculum of limiting opportunities for goal setting, particularly when sources are involved. However, the scope of these findings limits attaching a value to the strategies. Instead, the patterns reflected across the logs only help make areas of the curriculum more visible (like how students use sources). Along these lines, a more extensive comparison is needed.

If we did want to encourage more of the students in the ethnography group to use sources for more diverse goals, we might try to set up a conversation to which students are expected to “contribute.” Such a conversation might include reading a selection of ethnographic essays that offer diverse perspectives on a particular culture. Such a dynamic might show students what is being written about the culture they are researching as well as how their writing might sound.

 

Working Conclusions

When patterns in self-regulation do emerge across an assignment, it can inform how we might adjust the expectations we construct in our assignments and curriculum. Speculating even further, we may find new ways to cultivate curricular contexts that encourage “problem-exploring,” as opposed to “answer-getting” (Wardle).

In addition, students may do well to learn about self-regulation and observe examples of writers demonstrating diverse self-regulation strategies. Learning by observing, has helped undergraduate students overcome obstacles (Rijlaarsdam et al.). What might happen when students observe and compare their own self-regulation practices with each other? Such a question calls on students to write about writing processes.

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Ryan Roderick is an Assistant Professor at Husson University in Bangor, ME, where he teaches courses in first-year writing, professional writing, and interpersonal communication. Reach him via email at roderickr@husson.edu.

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Works Referenced

Bandura, Albert. “Social Cognitive Theory of Self-Regulation.” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, vol. 50, 1991, pp. 248–87.

Beaufort, Anne, and Anna Inesta. “Author Profiles: Awareness, Competence, and Skills.” Handbook of Writing and Text Production, edited by Eva-Maria Jakobs and Daniel Perrin, Walter de Gruyter Gmbh, 2014, pp. 142–58.

Charney, Davida H., and Christine M. Neuwirth. Having Your Say: Reading and Writing Public Arguments. Pearson Longman, 2006.

Cleary, Michelle Navarre. “Flowing and Freestyling: Learning from Adult Students about Process Knowledge Transfer.” CCC: College Composition and Communication, vol. 64, no. 4, 2013, pp. 661–687.

Cook, Jennifer Susan, et al. “Ethnography as a Way In: Writing Meets Research in First-Year Composition.” Writing & Pedagogy, vol. 3, no. 1, June 2011. Crossref, doi:10.1558/wap.v3i1.17.

Flower, Linda. The Construction of Negotiated Meaning: A Social Cognitive Theory of Writing. Southern Illinois University Press, 1994.

Harris, Karen R., and Steve Graham. “Self-Regulated Strategy Development in Writing: Policy Implications of an Evidence-Based Practice.” Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, vol. 3, no. 1, Mar. 2016, pp. 77–84. DOI.org (Crossref), doi:10.1177/2372732215624216.

Li, Yongyan. “Undergraduate Students Searching and Reading Web Sources for Writing.” Educational Media International, vol. 49, no. 3, Sept. 2012, pp. 201–15. CrossRef, doi:10.1080/09523987.2012.738013.

Negretti, Raffaella, and Spela Mezek. “Participatory Appropriation as a Pathway to Self-Regulation in Academic Writing: The Case of Three BA Essay Writers in Literature.” Journal of Writing Research, vol. 11, no. vol. 11 issue 1, June 2019, pp. 1–40. DOI.org (Crossref), doi:10.17239/jowr-2019.11.01.01.

Pintrich, Paul R. “A Conceptual Framework for Assessing Motivation and Self-Regulated Learning in College Students.” Educational Psychology Review, vol. 16, no. 4, 2004, pp. 385–407.

Prior, Paul, and Jody Shipka. “Chronotopic Lamination: Tracing the Contours of Literate Activity.” Writing Selves, Writing Societies: Research from Activity Perspectives, 2003, pp. 180–238.

R. Negretti. “Metacognition in Student Academic Writing: A Longitudinal Study of Metacognitive Awareness and Its Relation to Task Perception, Self-Regulation, and Evaluation of Performance.” Written Communication, vol. 29, no. 2, 2012, pp. 142–79, doi:10.1177/0741088312438529.

Riazi, Abdolmehdi. “Acquiring Disciplinary Literacy: A Social-Cognitive Analysis of Text Production and Learning among Iranian Graduate Students of Education.” Journal of Second Language Writing, vol. 6, no. 2, 1997, pp. 105–37, doi:10.1016/S1060-3743(97)90030-8.

Rijlaarsdam, G. C. W., et al. “Observation of Peers in Learning to Write: Practice and Research.” Journal of Writing Research, vol. 1, 2008, pp. 53–83.

Roderick, Ryan. “Self-Regulation and Rhetorical Problem Solving: How Graduate Students Adapt to an Unfamiliar Writing Project.” Written Communication, vol. 36, no. 3, July 2019, pp. 410–36. DOI.org (Crossref), doi:10.1177/0741088319843511.

Segev-Miller, Rachel. “Writing-To-Learn: Conducting A Process Log.” Effective Learning and Teaching of Writing, edited by Gert Rijlaarsdam et al., vol. 14, Springer Netherlands, 2005, pp. 533–46. Crossref, doi:10.1007/978-1-4020-2739-0_36.

Wardle, Elizabeth. “Creative Repurposing for Expansive Learning: Considering ‘Problem-Exploring’ and ‘Answer-Getting’ Dispositions in Individuals and Fields.” Composition Forum, vol. 26, 2012.

Zimmerman, Barry J., and Rafael Risemberg. “Becoming a Self-Regulated Writer: A Social Cognitive Perspective.” Contemporary Educational Psychology, vol. 22, no. 1, 1997, pp. 73–101.

Composing Carnivalesque: Writing About Writing and Bakhtin’s Carnival

Composing Carnivalesque: Writing About Writing and Bakhtin’s Carnival

BIO: Judith Chriqui-Benchimol is a Ph.D. Student in English Education at Teachers College, Columbia University and teaches first-year composition at Marymount Manhattan College. Her research interests include Writing Apprehension and Composition Pedagogy, particularly as they relate to first-year learning communities.

“What I have to write is never good enough.” These words, written in an essay by one of my first-year writing students last year, echo a sentiment I know many first-year writing professors have encountered before. But what I love about Writing About Writing (WAW) is that it doesn’t shy away from these sentiments. WAW asks students to take it a step further by examining their often negative associations with literacy, looking at them through other lenses, and even challenging them.

The first time I taught WAW in my first-year writing classroom also happened to be my first semester as a Ph.D. student in English Education at Teachers College. During the day my first-year writing students and I would crack open Wardle and Down’s WAW textbook, and at night I’d pore over essays of twentieth-century literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin for a pedagogical theory class I was taking. At first I didn’t think WAW and Bakthin had too much to do with each other. Then one week, my professor introduced us to Bakhtin’s concept of Carnival, and a light switched on.

Bakhtin was fascinated by French Renaissance writer Rabelais and the influence Medieval European carnivals had on that writer’s work. These carnivals were sanctioned, over-the-top, celebratory occasions that, for a short while, suspended the traditional power imbalances by inviting people from all social classes into the same space. These spaces also welcomed different variations of the common language: the socially-accepted and the rejected discourses, the formal and informal, all had the same volume; everyone was heard. Carnival, then, was not only a way of unifying the otherwise divided, but it was also a form of liberation from authoritative discourses of the time.

WAW, much like Bakhtin’s Carnival, is a form of liberation from the rigid hierarchies of academic English. WAW embodies the carnivalesque by asking students to examine and eventually challenge the standardized writing practices that have affected them (often negatively) academically, socially, and even economically.

As part of a research collaboration about two WAW classes, my colleague and I wanted to see what would happen if we invoked Bakhtin’s Carnival by inviting two opposing ideas into the same space. What would happen if we permitted non-academic writing in the classroom, a space it (supposedly) doesn’t belong?

So, I asked each student to create an Instagram account specifically for our class. Using their class accounts, they uploaded their classwork alongside posts from their everyday lives. This cross-posting method was designed for students to draw interdisciplinary connections between the course and writing contexts outside of the classroom. Many students were confused by this idea at first. One student called it “extremely weird. Almost contradicting.” But that unease led to very interesting dialogues and essays.

One of the most interesting essays came from the very student whom I quote above saying that what she wrote was “never good enough.” At one point, she makes a brilliant connection between Twitter and essay writing: “My mind associates academic writing with immense stress, but somehow typing out a thread of seven tweets about Bill Hader’s performance in It: Chapter Two is second nature to me.”

By acknowledging that it’s easier to write on Twitter and Instagram and harder to write an essay, she is acknowledging the academic writing hierarchies that often stifle student writing. How can professors help students feel that same level of comfort in the classroom? Maybe by bringing Carnival into the WAW classroom, we can challenge some of the perceptions that hinder students’ self expression, and, in turn, we can expand the possibilities of what it means to write an essay.

Congratulations to Selected Sponsored Panelists for 2021 CCCC

Congratulations to Selected Sponsored Panelists for 2021 CCCC

Hello all,


We wanted to say congratulations to our selected sponsored panelists:

Panel: “New Directions in Writing about Writing Pedagogies” for the 2021 CCCC Annual Convention at the Spokane Convention Center in Spokane, WA, April 7-10, 2021.  

Presenters: Kathy Rose, William Ordeman, and Charlotte Asmuth.

Here are the individual titles on this panel:

  • Rose, K. “Coding writing growth: Undergraduate students as co-researchers in WAW research.”
  • Asmuth, C. “Reading is (Also) an Activity and a Subject of Study: Writing about Reading Online.”
  • Ordeman, W. “Teaching business writing ethics in digital spaces.”

Thanks again to everyone who submitted this year!

Samuel Stinson and John H. Whicker

Co-Coordinators
Writing about Writing Development Group
A Standing group of CCCC

WAW STANDING GROUP CALL FOR PROPOSALS FOR THE 2021 SPONSORED CCCC PANEL

WAW STANDING GROUP CALL FOR PROPOSALS FOR THE 2021 SPONSORED CCCCs PANEL
We Are All Writing Teachers*: Returning to a Common Place | 2021CCCCs CFP
April 7-10 Spokane, WA

The Writing About Writing (WAW) Standing Group and the WAW Steering Committee invite proposals for the 2021 WAW Sponsored Panel at CCCC. The sponsored panel is guaranteed to be accepted to the CCCC program when the Standing Group submits it, and we are reaching out to the WAW community to identify potential presenters.

What kind of proposal fits the WAW Sponsored Panel’s goals?
We are interested in panels as well as individual proposals. We are interested in proposals that help us extend the practice and impact of WAW pedagogy or research, particularly proposals authored and co-authored by new and emerging scholars in WAW. We are also interested in proposals reporting on ongoing research into WAW programs and courses. And we especially invite proposals that connect WAW to the 2021 conference theme–We Are All Writing Teachers*: Returning to a Common Place.


How will the WAW Sponsored Panel selected proposals be submitted to CCCC?
Sponsored Panels will be submitted by the WAW Sponsored Panel Committee through the regular CCCC proposal system, which is why we are asking for the same information as the online program proposal system. Our timeline for proposal submissions is purposefully ahead of the May 28 CCCCs proposal deadline so that WAW proposals that are declined may still be submitted for the general conference. Here are some important dates:


● The WAW Standing Group will accept proposals through May 18, 2020.
● The WAW Proposal Review Team will email results to proposers by May 22, 2020.


Please send your proposal and relevant presenter/panel information through this form.


To be considered for the Sponsored Panel, please follow 4Cs guidelines when writing your proposal. Please describe the focus of the proposed session: 1000 words or less for a concurrent panel, 250 words or less for an individual proposal. Please also clearly select three area clusters for your proposal.


Be sure that your proposal considers the conference theme and the five main criteria as listed on the guidelines page: 1) how the proposal is situated in the field, 2) its main focus, 3) what is innovative and new, 4) how it is audience-oriented and performative, 5) how it is inclusive, aware of social justice concerns, and/or engaged with political aims, discourses, and ideas, and 6) how it adds new or underrepresented voices or texture to the discussion.

If you have questions and/or concerns, feel free to email Colin Charlton at colin.charlton@utrgv.edu.

WAW Standing Group Breakout #1 – Notes

Thanks to Stacy Wilson of Mesa Community College for taking notes on our breakout discussion!

Bess Fox, Marymount U, VA: Described a WAW assignment where students read research on source use (e.g., Howard) and analyze their own source use. This assignment happens before a more traditional research paper assignment.

John Whicker, Fontbonne U, stresses context analysis. Assignments for first-semester FYC include an open letter to an English professor based on what they’ve learned about transfer; rhetorical analysis of a controversial issue; an argumentative essay where they take a nuanced position on that issue; and a theory of writing. Assignments for second-semester FYC include a guide to analyzing discourse communities, a genre analysis, a research project in two genres, and a theory of writing. See John’s materials on the CCCC 2019 site for more detail.

Testing a Theory of Writing in FYW

N. Claire Jackson
University of Louisville
claire.jackson.1@louisville.edu

In 2016, four other instructors at UMaine (where I was teaching at the time) and I began incorporating elements of the Teacher for Transfer curriculum into our WAW first-year-writing course. The theory of writing has been the TfT element I find the most useful, and I have students return to it repeatedly throughout the course, asking them to reflect on how they would make changes in light of their most recent reading and writing and then to revise that theory accordingly.

In planning our assignment sequences, we discussed the benefits of explicitly asking students to reflect on writing in other classes as well. This prompt is what I developed to foster that reflection. It is part of a scaffolded assignment sequence in which students engage in new writing tasks between (almost) every class to work toward final portfolios. This prompt is typically when I see students begin to make more thorough connections between the writing they do in first-year-writing and the other types of writing they engage in or expect to engage in in the future. While many of the readings I include focus on writing in new contexts, some of which are non-academic, asking students to apply their own theories to those other types of writing helps them see these connections more clearly than when they just read what others have said.

Prompt: Your last assignment asked you to “test” your theory of writing against your experiences writing your last essay in order to think about how complete and useful this theory is. While this is a good start to evaluating the usefulness of your theory, you should once again recall Downs’ and Robertson’s claim that “The better–the more completely, consistently, and elegantly–a theory accounts for past experience and the more accurate its predictions about future experience, the stronger or more robust it is, and thus the more useful it is” (111). As such, it would seem useful to test how consistently your theory of writing can account for your past experiences with writing and make predictions about future writing experiences for writing experiences outside of this class. Therefore, for this assignment you will turn your attention to writing you have produced (or are producing) outside of this class in order to begin to develop a clearer picture of the usefulness of your theory of writing.

For next class, please select a piece of your writing from outside of this class. It can be something you have completed or something you are still composing. You may choose an academic example (a history paper or lab report you wrote last week; an essay from high school) or a non-academic example (a tweet, a post on an online forum, a letter to your grandmother, fanfiction, a prayer journal, etc.). The more unlike the writing you do in ENG 101 this sample is, the more fruitful and interesting your examination will likely be.

After you have selected the piece of writing, use your theory of writing as a frame to explain what you did as you composed this piece of writing, how you did so, and why, much as you did in your last assignment. Like with the last assignment, the length will, in part, be determined by the usefulness of your theory of writing. If you find yourself unable to write much, you may want to instead begin thinking about how you will revise your theory of writing to account for this other type of writing.

You do not need to send me this piece of writing (though you can), but you will need to make sure I have enough context to understand what you’re saying, so you’ll want to cite specific examples from your text. Make sure you also explain what your theory of writing fails to account for–that is, are there ways your theory of writing as it is currently written fails to explain what happens when you write, say, a tweet instead of an academic essay? How will you revise your theory of writing in light of this information?

When you have finished, please revise your theory of writing based on the work you did here. Please send me your revised theory and the writing you did above.

Hendrickson & Garcia de Mueller 2016 – “Inviting students to determine for themselves what it means to write across disciplines”

Hendrickson, Brian, and Genevieve Garcia de Mueller. “Inviting Students to Determine for Themselves What it Means to Write Across Disciplines.” The WAC Journal 27 (2016). Retrieved from https://wac.colostate.edu/docs/journal/vol27/hendrickson.pdf

In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph: “Situated in the literature on threshold concepts and transfer of prior knowledge in WAC/WID and composition studies, with particular emphasis on the scholarship of writing across difference, our article explores the possibility of re-envisioning the role of the composition classroom within the broader literacy ecology of colleges and universities largely comprised of students from socioeconomically and ethnolinguistically underrepresented communities. We recount the pilot of a composition course prompting students to examine their own prior and other literacy values and practices, then transfer that growing meta-awareness to the critical acquisition of academic discourse. Our analysis of students’ self-assessment memos reveals that students apply certain threshold concepts to acquire critical agency as academic writers, and in a manner consistent with Guerra’s concept of transcultural repositioning. We further consider the role collective rubric development plays as a critical incident facilitating transcultural repositioning.”

CFP for WAW sponsored panel – CCCC 2019

The Writing About Writing (WAW) Standing Group and the WAW Steering Committee invite proposals for the 2019 WAW Sponsored Panel. The sponsored panel is guaranteed to be accepted to the CCCC program when the Standing Group submits it, and we are reaching out to the WAW community to identify potential presenters.

What kind of proposal fits the WAW Sponsored Panel’s goals?

We are interested in interactive panels as well as individual proposals. We are interested in proposals that help us extend the practice and impact of WAW pedagogy or research, particularly proposals authored and co-authored by new and emerging scholars in WAW. We are also hoping to include panels reporting on ongoing research into WAW programs and courses. We especially invite proposals that connect WAW to the 2019 conference theme of performance-rhetoric and performance-composition.

How will the WAW Sponsored Panel selected proposals be submitted to CCCC?

Sponsored Panels will be submitted by the WAW Sponsored Panel Committee through the regular CCCC proposal system, which is why we are asking for the same information as the online program proposal system.

To be considered for the WAW Sponsored Panel, proposals must be received before April 23 at 11:59pm. Please send your proposal and relevant presenter/panel information through this form.

To be considered for the Sponsored Panel, please follow 4Cs guidelines when writing your proposal. Please describe the focus of the proposed session: 1000 words or less for a concurrent panel, 250 words or less for an individual proposal. Please also clearly select three area clusters for your proposal.

Be sure that your proposal considers the conference themes and the five main criteria as listed on the guidelines page: 1) how the proposal is situated in the field, 2) its main focus, 3) what is innovative and new, 4) how it is audience-oriented and performative, 5) how it is inclusive, aware of social justice concerns, and/or engaged with political aims, discourses, and ideas, and 6) how it adds new or underrepresented voices or texture to the discussion.

If you have questions and/or concerns, feel free to email Lisa Tremain at: lisa.tremain@humboldt.edu.

 

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 jwhicker@fontbonne.edu with a brief summary of your WAW course.

 

WAW Standing Group – Dr. Sam Looker-Koenigs on her new book, Language Diversity and Academic Writing

At our CCCC Standing Group meeting this year, we were thrilled to have Dr. Sam Looker-Koenigs talk about her new Bedford Spotlight Reader, Language Diversity and Academic Writing. Her handout from the presentation is attached; it shares her rationale for the course, chapter summaries, and a selected bibliography.