I’ve been a part of Jenna Goldsmith’s Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) Faculty Learning Community (FLC) this year (we call ourselves WAC-Y). I highly recommend getting involved in this FLC! Great discussions about pedagogy, the purpose and importance of writing in our classes, and our role in our students’ process of (self) discovery.
Today our session was about “Productive Uncertainty and Postpedagogical Practice.” As McIntyre (2018) writes, “Postpedagogy emphasizes experimentation and reflection as integral to composing processes, especially digital composing.” Aside from our awesome discussion about how “struggle” is part of the developmental writing process, “reflection” on that process is just as important. Do our students know how to “self-critique?” Do we give them the tools to evaluate their work as part of this reflective process? As Peter pointed out, “there is nothing as good as a good rubric.”
Related to our discussion, I ran across the attached article about facilitating an important thought process for our students, namely, understanding the purpose of an assignment and how the work fits into course objectives, program requirements, professional goals, and life in general. The best part is that the example has students evaluate the course syllabus with these things in mind. I have never done this! (Today I shamefully admitted that I didn’t do the reading for our WAC session because I didn’t know there was any…to my amazement, it was ON THE SYLLABUS!) Point taken.
Look over the sample template. Imagine what might happen if we created such a guide for our students for most assignments. Do you think there would ever be a question in their minds about WHY we’re having them do something in our class, WHY it matters to their discipline, or HOW they will use this in their life ever again? Not only does this structure require that students think (and write) about these things, but it also engages them in self-reflection/critique of their work with a checklist and provides the rubric on which they will be assessed.
As you plan for next term, consider utilizing this assignment tool. More importantly, let your students know WHY you’ve adopted this structure and WHY reflection and self-evaluation matters. The more we can contextualize our assignments within a course, program, and life in general, the better students will understand how to communicate the transferable skills they’ve learned as part of their educational experience.