Tips For Writing in the Disciplines
- Give writing assignments that reflect the kind of writing done in that discipline. For example, students need to learn how to write a lab report for chemistry, a care plan for nursing, or a literature review for sociology.
- Point out the key characteristics when you introduce a particular genre of writing.
- Provide a sample of the form and help students to identify and analyze the key characteristics.
- Analyze models of the form and give students "Form Guidelines"
- Emphasize the analytic processes involved in the writing rather than merely imitate form.
- Give students practice opportunities to write in the form.
- Find good professional models in professional journals, textbooks, the workplace, student-authored samples from the web, and student-authored samples from previous classes.
- Use class discussion or homework assignments as the forum for analysis of a model.
- Analyze models before students make attempts to write in that form.
- Have students write an outline of the model.
- Have students create a chart that represents the content for different parts of the model, e.g. purpose, necessary information, key components, format.
- Ask students to answer a list of homework questions about the model. This can be done as part of a reading assignment.
- Use student-authored models to demonstrate to students the possibilities for achievement.
- Summarize the key characteristics of the form, e.g. assumptions, methods, and structure.
- Create form guidelines for the students OR do a class activity in which students collaborate to create form guidelines.
- Review the guidelines and suggest tips for following the guidelines.
- Encourage students to use the guidelines as they write.
- Have he students submit the guidelines as a checklist with their draft.
- Use the guidelines to give direction to peer responses during peer review.
- Use well-written guidelines for instructor feedback on student drafts.