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What should I know about WAC and graduate education?What writing resources are available for my students? Surprisingly, teachers have been known to assign writing tasks without articulating to themselves what the task is supposed to do for students.But even if your particular class doesn't allow you to pair students with actual clients or other readers, consider ways in which you can create a meaningful context with readers beyond the teacher in the classroom (see, for example, Ward, 2009). (2012), for instance, describe in detail how, drawing on materials from The Council of Writing Program Administrators and The Foundation for Critical Thinking, they developed a case study writing context for first-year general chemistry students.

Although some experts (Freedman ., 1994) argue that setting up a fictitious scenario with a specified audience does not motivate students any more highly than simply writing for the teacher, other practitioners across the disciplines have seen improvement in student writing when they use cases with embedded audiences for students' documents.

(See, for instance, Brumberger, 2004; Cass & Fernandez, 2008; Stevens, 2005; Sulewski, 2003.) A further extension of this move toward providing rich writing contexts beyond the teacher involves writing tasks that actually target real readers.

In particular, workplace literacy and socio-cognitive apprenticeship theory (among related theoretical perspectives) both emphasize the role that knowledgeable mentors within a workplace play as they initiate newcomers to the communicative context.

(See especially Beaufort, 2000, and Ding, 2008, for social apprenticeship studies and Paretti, 2008, on situated learning and activity theory.) As Dias Written discourse...

How can writing centers support writing in my courses?

Do writing and peer review take up too much class time? Responding to Writing How can I handle responding to student writing?

is regularized but not fixed; fluid, flexible, and dynamic; emerging and evolving in exigency and action; reflecting and incorporating social needs, demands, and structures, and responsive to social interpretations and reinterpretations of necessarily shifting, complex experiences.

(23) And, as a result of the fluidity of discourse in varied workplace settings, writers themselves should be prepared for major development of their communication skills when they enter new workplaces. Reflecting on reflections: Enhancement of medical education curriculum with structured field notes and guided feedback.

For that reason, the first key to writing a good assignment is tying the task to the specific course goals.

After taking your class and its goals into account, though, several other principles can improve the writing tasks you assign and the writing you get from students.

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