On teaching academic writing

Check out the blog posts I contributed to the Teaching Commons blog!

On Teaching Academic Writing, Part I

Teaching and learning would be easy tasks if they involved straightforward transfers of information from person to person. This is a lesson that has been particularly difficult for educators to learn about writing. For decades, misunderstandings about the nature of “good writing” and processes involved in producing it have fuelled the devaluation of writing support services as well as writing instruction within disciplinary courses across higher education.

Writing is a category of skill and strategy that seems to defy teaching. I find that a combination of two metaphors – interpretive dance and driving abroad – is best at explaining why. Bear with me as I proceed towards a dangerously mixed metaphor.
— http://teachingcommons.yorku.ca/blog-21/
I am often told that there is no time to teach both course content and writing. Additional time would certainly ease this situation. In its absence, though, writing assignments do make writing part of the course content, a part for which there is often little instructional support.

The good news is that content and writing are interrelated. The best writing instruction will equip students to gain a better grasp of course concepts, helping them to emerge from courses as better writers who are more entrenched in the discipline of study. This approach demands that instructors focus on writing process over product.
— http://teachingcommons.yorku.ca/blog-29/

Stephanie Bell

Dr. Bell is the Associate Director of York University's Writing Centre and an Assistant Professor in the Writing Department's Professional Writing degree program. She spends her time devising ways of using critical pedagogy to support students' understanding of and commitment to academic and professional integrity. The podcast course is a result (and continuation) of one such experiment.