Book: The College Writing Toolkit
Chapter: 15. The Write Path: Guiding Writers to Self-Reliance
Developing students’ reflectivity through guided self-assessment in every stage of a writing activity is the theme of Lisa Nazarenko and Gillian Schwarz’s chapter, “The Write Path: Guiding Writers to Self-Reliance.” Nazarenko and Schwarz regard such reflectivity as a key aspect of improving student writing and comment that can take some time to achieve. They present a set of activities they have used with second-language students in the second semester of a first-year university writing course, structured around writing an opinion essay. Key features of their teaching approach are guidelines for the assignment, model texts, hands-on interaction in the classroom, controlled prewriting, peer consultation and feedback, focused feedback from the instructor that mirrors the assignment guidelines, revision and redrafting, workshops and conferencing, and the use of structured reflection and feedback sheets throughout the process. The authors point out that, since the activity is broken down into clear steps, it is flexible and easy to adapt to different teaching situations and ability levels. They also point out that it is easier to address problems with student work at the prewriting stage than to fix them later – a point with which many instructors will doubtless concur.