How can college writing classes turn into an active learning environment?
In my writing classes, I try to provide my students with various opportunities to read, write, and receive feedback. One challenge, however, is when students are asked to write individually; they might not be motivated enough to work on their own. On the other hand, when assigning an activity to a group, there is often one student who seems to be working on the activity while the other students don’t get as involved as required.
I believe writing is a complicated topic to teach and asking students to produce written work can be a challenging process. To address these individual and group challenges, I have come up with a neat strategy that I would love to share with the rest of the educators dealing with similar challenges.
One of the tools I introduce to create an active learning environment incorporates a bit of technology. I usually use google docs, Padlet, or the discussion board of the institution as a platform to produce and post work.
The strategy that I use is called Write, Share, Edit, and Post. To begin, I assign an activity to everyone individually. For instance, if I am teaching students how to write a paragraph, I ask everyone to have a white sheet of paper in front of them and ask everyone to write a topic sentence in response to the given question individually within an assigned time limit (timing activities motivate students).
Next, I put them in groups of 4 or 5, assigning them a partner; students are instructed to share their topic sentences with their partner, edit their partner’s work, and share their edited work with the group. Then, I call one student per group to present his/her work to the class by posting their topic sentence, representing their group’s writing. As mentioned earlier, students would be provided with a tech platform to post their group writings. Also, here is a classroom management tip: only one person per group will be using a tech device, and the rest of the group members would be a support to make sure that their one sentence is being posted error free in terms of grammar, punctuation, clarity, and conciseness. Once posted, we will look at the postings and edit them as a class.
To conclude, I find this strategy effective for the following reasons:
- Students are producing work individually
- Students are involved in peer editing
- Students are motivated to produce work (with the time limit)
- Students are involved in a whole class editing process
- Students practice teamwork and present work as a team
- Students receive instant formative feedback from their instructor
When given a sense of urgency and responsibility, students feel engaged, motivated, and empowered to produce work.
How do you make your writing courses engaging and productive?
3 thoughts on “Write, Share, Edit, & Post: An Active Teaching Approach in the EAP Class”
Great practical tip for getting students engaged in writing.
It also teaches them about the writing process by actively taking them through all the steps. It also combines a good mix of individual work and group work.
I will be using this method in my own class if you don’t mind haha.
Thank you fir sharing your ideas and strategies. I like the idea of peer editing as it definitely better engages the students and teaches them collaboration. I usually get the students to brainstorm together as it generates more ideas and helps those students who struggle finding ideas for writing. I also engage my students in choosing topics for writing as I find they are more motivated to write about something that is of interest to them.
Thanks for sharing your terrific, interactive
Just to clarify, once each of the students has her/his paragraph edited by a partner, do they choose one to post as a group? Or do you pick one student’s at random?
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