Thank you to Andaiye for kicking off our “Discussion Lead” series with a thoughtful engagement of both Yancey’s piece Reflection in the Writing Classroom and Jaxon’s thoughts on “One Approach to Guiding Peer Response.” Andaiye’s opening questions and later freewriting exercises were very useful in exploring the importance of reflection in overall learning. I think there are inherent differences in “writing your way to discovery” verses engaging in oral discussion, and in some ways, we started to explore those distinctions together during Andaiye’s presentation. Sometimes discussion can only take us so far. It seems to me that reflection as a powerful engine for authentic learning requires a significant time commitment. The problem of time constraints (in an academic context) remains a significant challenge for current educators as we attempt to incorporate writing process into our academic curriculum(s). A need to cover content in the allotted time seems to trump any in-built reflective process. I suspect that this will be a recurring issue that we must try to troubleshoot together: How can we design learning experiences where reflection becomes more habitual and ultimately has an important role to play in shaping how students learn how to learn?
Writing instruction is clearly THE critical interface for reflection to become a “habit of mind”. It is evident that writing-to-learn methods are profound roads to learning, yet we struggle to find the time to model this on a regular basis. In this way, Jaxon’s peer guided protocol is very useful – she has her students take on this reflective stance for writing outside her classroom time. She guides her students to prepare a critical memo of their own writing work, while simultaneously, students consider peer writing through her guided protocol. It is a way of incorporating the reflective stance into student experience, and it still leaves some classroom time for other pursuits.
What is up for next week?
-Stephanie will present both 1. Teacher-Writers: Then, Now, and Next and also 2. Teaching Writing Authentically. Please read her two selected articles and blog your response/reflection to the readings for next Monday. You should remember to add your thoughts about your own sense of learning priorities for this class at the close of this week’s blog post. Also, please remember to tweet your blog or any related material to our class hashtag is #WritingTheory.
-In the second half of class, we will continue to open up an initial discussion of what is possible for your shared project. We will pick up where we left off as we reflect together and brainstorm early possibilities regarding your preferred learning outcomes. We will also start an early consideration of what form a collaborative project might take.
See you soon!!