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Empowering Students to "Theme" First-Year Writing: An Exploratory Essay Assignment Presentation

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Title:Empowering Students to "Theme" First-Year Writing: An Exploratory Essay Assignment Presentation
Authors:Allen, Sarah
exploratory writing
Date Issued:08 Apr 2017
Publisher:Honolulu: 2017 UH First-Year Writing Symposium
Abstract:The first assignment that I offer to students in ENG 100 begins to address each of the FYW Hallmarks. It is an exercise in writing to discover a research topic. Students respond to, by engaging with a topic of their choosing in, a text assigned to the entire class. The text is meant to provide students with material from which to brainstorm topics for their larger research projects, but also to provide them with “shared ground” for those topics so that they can respond to, in a shared discourse, each other’s work. The assignment challenges students to negotiate an approach to writing that they are generally not used to – formal, exploratory writing. Effective negotiation is only possible via attentiveness to audience and purpose. As such, the assignment addresses and unites the parts of the first hallmark. The students are given feedback on drafts of the paper by me and the class, with an eye to the paper, itself, as well as in anticipation of the research process (all of which addresses the second hallmark). As a formal writing assignment, they are working on the third hallmark, and by engaging specifically with the shared text in order to “inspire” and guide the exploration, the assignment begins to address the last two hallmarks. For this presentation, I will share copies of the assignment, explain how it is situated within the course goals (including the hallmarks), as well as within my pedagogy, and comment on the strengths and problems with the assignment.
Description:This talk was presented as part of Breakout Session 2 | Panel 1: "Theming First Year Composition" This is the full PDF of the talk's powerpoint presentation slides.
Pages/Duration:8 pages
Appears in Collections: Breakout 02, Panel 01: Theming First Year Composition

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