Long abandoned margin codes for commenting on student writing

Soon after I gave students the sheet below, a conversation with Keith Hjortshoj led me to abandon commenting in the margin in favor of what I now call Dialogue around written work. But, as a matter of historical interest, here are the codes I had developed to streamline my commenting in the margin. Read more of this post

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Writing about being unsettled: Some reasons

Over the last month or so I have tried to make sense of why I might share the notes I have been making about being unsettled.  In this post I share some of my shifting thinking. Read more of this post

When sharing writing is not giving to get feedback

When is sharing writing not giving to get feedback?  How—in what ways can this happen?  Why? These questions arose for me after a discussion among graduate students at the early stage of a research and writing process.  To initiate the discussion I had read the quote below from Peter Elbow on sharing and giving. Clearer framing was needed, however, given that the subsequent discussion mostly centered on bad and good experiences or attitudes in getting and receiving feedback on writing. Read more of this post

Research for Writing, Writing for Research: A workshop

Overview of a workshop run for doctoral students in Environmental Studies at Yale University in Fall 2008.

OK, you’re near the end of a semester learning about qualitative research and preparing a research proposal.  This “writing workshop” will look at the role of writing in research from three different angles:

1.  Thinking about what your project (or thesis) is isn’t finished until you finish writing—and you can’t bring writing to a finish without thinking through what your project (or thesis) is really about.  So, what processes can help you with your thinking and writing at the final stages?  We’ll look at “Sharing” and “Revising with Feedback,” guided by chapters 3 & 13 of Peter Elbow’s Writing with Power (Oxford U.P.) and another piece of his (http://www.faculty.umb.edu/pjt/ elbowresponses.html).   (If anyone wants to volunteer a few pages for us to give feedback on, please email me and I’ll explain how this will work.)

2.  The course syllabus says:

The idea is to commit to a project quickly and put some effort into it; you may change your mind later, or find that the problem you thought was worth pursuing is in fact a deadend. Congratulations—that is what research is all about.

Is that what research and writing have to be like?  It is too late to change for this semester, but let’s compare your experience with a process that allows more time for finding a project that really engages you.

Before the workshop:

a. Read the introduction to a book (http://bit.ly/TYS2012) that compiles material from three CCT courses:

b. Examine the “phases of research and engagement,” which are overlapping and “iterative”

c. Consider the idea of “dialogue around written work

During the workshop, we will use two of the tools in the book to compare your experience with the ideas/practices in a, b, & c: Guided freewriting, and Strategic Personal Planning.  (Details of how we’ll do this can wait till the workshop.)

3.  (time permitting)  Many of you will be teachers and researcher advisers one day.  If you see your development as a teacher as an ongoing process, then this process is a suitable subject for qualitative research.  In that light, before the workshop please read the compilation of snapshots from my development, and come prepared to give feedback so I can revise and improve this first draft.  (I’ll be asking you to use one of Elbow’s variety of responses in providing the feedback.)

 

Jostling among tensions in relating to audience

Do not expect to learn or change without moving among or being jostled by the interplay or tensions between these different considerations.

The quote refers to a “mandala” of six considerations in learning where you take initiative in relationships, such as those with your advisors and peers (http://www.faculty.umb.edu/pjt/MakingSpace.html; animation).  It applies equally well to the very first draft of considerations in relating to audience when you want to convey a position that runs against the mainstream, as depicted here:

AudienceMandala

Suggestions welcome to refine or develop this.

(Thanks to Constance C. and MaryLou H. for this morning’s writing support group discussion, out of which this new mandala emerged.)

 

——

Springy cube version:

3Dspringaudience

On writing support

This 17-minute video is an introduction to a set of materials linked to http://bit.ly/WrSupport, which convey the evolution of writing support practices in my courses and graduate program. At the end, two thoughts are left to chew on:

  • It might be investigated, not assumed, that what poor writers need is more teaching of good writing.
  • In this spirit, writing coaches might be drawn from within and across a wide range of programs.

Taking Yourself Seriously: Processes of Research and Engagement, now published

Taking Yourself Seriously: Processes of Research and Engagement by Peter Taylor and Jeremy Szteiter is now available.  This is a “field-book of tools and processes to help readers in all fields develop as researchers, writers, and agents of change.”

(For more details and how to purchase: http://bit.ly/TYS2012.
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