This page will contain ideas and comments from Table 5.
– Voice is important and dependent on context.
– Writing is a process!
– Writing should be context specific
– Different criteria for different format and tone
– Writing is valuable in all subjects
– Clear expectations produce better results
– Organization and development
– Purpose must be articulated
– Meetings in schools, communities about the same issues
– Student teach PD seminars and workshops
– Define, objectively, effective writing. Remove as much subjectivity as possible.
– How do we assess to show that writing is a process and yet also adhere to a university’s requirement for evaluating grades?
– Encourage cross-curricular development of writing skills.
• Clarity of expression (post secondary Lethbridge college)
• Voice, interest
• Writing is not only for assessment, but for understanding
• Making writing more meaningful/truthful
• “As is”
• assessment is secondary purpose
• what we’ve talked about today is what I want to teach. Curriculum and diploma prep is what I have to teach. Where’s the middle ground?
• HS. → Post secondary: writing academics/scholarly papers and rigor involved. Documentation styles. Using sources to support arguments (vs. summarizing research)
• Alberta curriculum does not require teachers to teach “university writing”. How can we reach 70% or so percent of students who do not go to university while still preparing the 30% who do?
High school English teachers struggle as the responsibility of writing falls on them. Writing has been dropped from the school subjects such as math, science, physical education, etc.., therefore it is difficult for English teachers to prepare students for writing across disciplines in university. Students are unprepared for writing across disciplines in university because writing in the other subjects is not enforced in the curriculum. (–whole group discussion comment made from another table)
Talk about context for teaching writing
How does your context help or restrain your values of writing
• Across disciplines
• Effective writing transcends writing. Some aspects of writing are objective
• Determine how people can effectively express themselves through disciplines
• Decision, precision, revision
• Scaffold writing abilities
• Teach them how to use fragments, etc… effectively. However it can be confusing to students
• Clarity being concise
• You do not to use fancy vocabulary, you can use short direct sentences.
• Make accurate choices in vocabulary equals effective writing
• High and low discourse, use appropriately in forms, genres, styles, etc…
• Colloquialism is more present in recent works than ever before. Possibly because students are communicating everyday through writing. Ex. Texting.
• Transitions vs. content transitions
• Quality of expression.
• Subjective vs. objective? Writing values differ for every teacher. What’s a writer to do?
• Academic paper is defined different across all disciplines but there are distinct characteristics in academic papers that we are not being clear about.
• Developmental exam: is it effective when we barely use those writing forms after high school. It does provide a template.
• Developing an argument helps you develop a perspective.
• There is a lack of clarity on expectations of writing papers. This causes students to really struggle with writing papers especially in post secondary.
• Research assignments are viewed as compiling information and evidence and summarizing it as opposed to the original intention of supporting your own original view or perspective to many students. Students get lost in the research. Help students gain their perspective. Bring students back to purpose.
• Not having to evaluate students writing
• Passion, and voice are great for sophisticated writers
• Form and expression
• Strategies and processes need to be focused on first in post-secondary before the voice is integrated. Ideally have both.
• The “never use the first person” rule should be changed to do not use the first person in these certain situations
• Form is as important as voice
• Use expressive writing to teach form because students usually will take ownership and put effort in it
• Is there time to teach voice while teaching form? Maybe in high school, not so much in post secondary
• Find assignments that contribute to voice
• Pull value from texts and that will make it interesting to any student. Ex) Shakespeare. Students think they have to write a certain way about a topic. However no teacher wants to read the same paper over and over again.
• ESL students take time to write expressively in another language
• Vocabulary and experience are important to voice.
• Provide form and templates for some students that need scaffolding. Express yourself in the development in your idea as opposed to your thesis. This is for struggling writers
• Try not to hinder advanced writers through strict form and templates
• Let students experiment with form and artistry
• Find a balance between letting students explore and providing support
• Put more effort into designing a writing assignment
• Main forms taught in high school: critical analytical, free writes, develop creative types, experiment with genres in free write (such as poems), push students to experiment with other forms.
• Assessment for learning has been incorporated into language arts for a long time
• Feedback, feedback, feedback.
• Comments without grades. Then given students self-evaluation forms to fill out. Then provide a grade.
• Comments can have a negative side effect; students do not feel proud of their work any longer. Attempt to finish with positives.
• With feedback you must provide constructive feedback by answering why such and such did not work? Show students how to fix or improve their writing issues.
• Creative writing forms are non-existent in post secondary. Only academic forms are acceptable.
• Personal reflections are really important.
• Lots of hoop jumping in writing for post secondary
• Should we let high school students know that post secondary has hoops to jump through? Should we address these hoops or just make them aware that they will face them?
• The writing you do in high school you may never do it again
• We want there to be more creative writing in post secondary
• Individualism or voice is not valued as much as expertise in post secondary
• You must be clear, you must have a purpose, you must engage, you must be descriptive, you must present information in a productive manner in both high school and post secondary
^Discussion on the what aspects we value about writing^
• I teach high school English, I question what we teach in high school and to what level. Our exam is worth 50% so we don’t want to teach to the exam but it’s a catch 22. You can only do so much because there are so many different styles and expectations. There are so many formats. If we don’t teach to the exam students won’t have high enough grades to get into university. In dash 2 we teach more practical writing which may also be a disservice. So I am here to try to find out what we can do differently.
• We want them to get more exposure to different writing styles or in text citations, especially in the academic stream. In college we get more students who did not go through the academic stream so it is even more difficult. Trying to figure out the expectations between high school and college. Lots of students feel unprepared.
• The gap between high school and post-secondary. What changes can the high school curriculum make and what can the university change especially th writing expectation for first year students. First years have learned very strict formats and different formats that do not work for university.
• Writing and communication take place in every university subject: science, biology, social sciences, etc. Therefore each faculty should take responsibility for their writing expectations.
• I feel I need to teach these students what my expectations are. Professors make their own curriculum. Students feel they are being pulled in so many different directions as professors do not collaborate.
• Professors have lost touch with what first year students are prepared for. They only know what they want from students.
• Faculties could get together and come up with some common expectations. Let’s teach them how to write across disciplines. However, optional sessions are poorly attended. Perhaps we should mandate them. Sessions such as writing a research paper, very general but a great starting point.
^Why are you here at Alberta Writes?^
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