Teaching Writing: Drafting, Generativity vs. Judgement

This post is part of a series on Writing Pedagogy.

One of the most broadly applicable things I learned in all of my linguistics coursework as a graduate student is the distinction between fluency and accuracy. Fluency relates to the rhythm of speech–does it flow logically from one unit of syntax to the next? without artificial pauses in the middle of a phrase? without repetitions? Accuracy relates to the correctness of the speech produced–is the speaker following the rules of the language and dialect? can their interlocutor understand what is being said? Speech can be incomprehensible because of disfluency or because of inaccuracy or because of a combination of both. The average native speaker is able to achieve a high degree of accuracy at the same time as a high degree of fluency. Language learners, though, tend to optimize one at the expense of the other. (This is not necessarily a conscious choice on the part of the language learner.) Understanding this distinction helped me realize that as a language learner, I tend to optimize fluency. It also helped me to understand a struggle that I was seeing in my writing classroom when students were drafting. Continue reading Teaching Writing: Drafting, Generativity vs. Judgement

Teaching Writing: Topic Development

This post is part of a series on Writing Pedagogy.

When it comes to choosing topics for research papers, my students, at all levels of writing instruction, fall into two camps. First the Committers–they come to class with a specific topic that they are determined to research. Sometimes these topics are great. Sometimes, however, they are inappropriate to the course or have the wrong scope for the assignment. Then there are the Flailers, who come to class with no idea at all or with a long list of possible ideas, none of which they are willing to commit to.  The series of activities outlined in this post are designed to help both groups of students think carefully about the possibilities available to them in a given assignment, the demands and the limits of the assignment’s scope, and the relationship of their interests to the topics of the course. Continue reading Teaching Writing: Topic Development

Teaching Writing: Revision and Why We Do It

This post is part of a series on Writing Pedagogy.

This post focuses on revision, the stage of the writing process in which we think about ideas and organization, and also a stage of the writing process that my undergraduate students resist engaging in.

For a long time, I was stymied by my undergraduate students’ resistance toward revising their writing. At first, I thought they were being lazy or failing at time management because they clearly must have known how important revision is!

Continue reading Teaching Writing: Revision and Why We Do It

Teaching Writing: Revision Strategies

This post is part of a series on Writing Pedagogy.

This post focuses on revision, the stage of the writing process in which we think about ideas and organization, and also a stage of the writing process that my undergraduate students resist engaging in. (A discussion for another post!)

These strategies can be used in conjunction with one another or separately. Continue reading Teaching Writing: Revision Strategies

The School Paper as Genre

You might be thinking that the school paper–thesis driven, topic sentences in each paragraphs, logical transitions, adhering to an academic style guide MLA, APA, or Chicago–is an artificial one, a genre that most students won’t use after commencement. And you might be right. I would counter, though, that first-year composition students have three more years of working in this genre ahead of them–more if they pursue graduate study–and there is value in preparing them to work in a genre that occurs only in the academic environment. Their scholar-professors in their major classes write and read thesis-driven, highly structured, style-guide-following scholarly articles all the time, and most of them expect students to turn in work that demonstrates progressive levels of mastery of this form. The school papers that seniors submit in their major classes should be starting to look like they might be able to be revised into a scholarly article. Continue reading The School Paper as Genre

Writing Our Stories with Hooks and Needles Timeline

From medieval romances to twenty-first century novels, textile arts and food production are a medium through which otherwise marginalized female voices find expression, and this project examines the varied means by which women in patriarchal societies enact agency through their reproductive labor, particularly the ways in which women’s reproductive labor works to create and maintain community.  In March of 2018, I presented a portion of this project, “Writing Our Stories with Hooks and Needles: Literary Women’s Voices in Textiles,” at Creative Bodies, Creative Minds, an interdisciplinary conference hosted by the University of Graz. The scholarly interest that inspires this project is further informed by my own engagement in writing, textile arts, and food production, and my experience of these as creative acts that allow me to participate in shaping my own communities. Continue reading Writing Our Stories with Hooks and Needles Timeline

Research and Teaching Portfolio of Kate Christine Moore Koppy