EWP Sample Teaching Materials: Outcome 4

OUTCOME 4: REVISING, EDITING, & PROOFREADING

keywords: revision, higher order concerns, lower order concerns, editing, proofreading, grammar, punctuation
pp. 447-493

DEVELOPING STRATEGIES FOR REVISION

Some students perceive revision as a minimum task of proofreading and "correcting," focusing only on sections of their writing that have received explicit feedback from the instructor. Other students, overwhelmed by instructor feedback and the amorphous idea of "revision," may turn revision into a maximum task, conceiving of it as writing a new paper. In fact, the most successful revision takes place between these two extremes, when students understand writing as a process that evolves through a series of drafts, each of which makes adjustments based on growing awareness about their goals, audience and context. Within this frame, revision can be perceived not as a single or uniform step, but as multiple connected tasks that vary from writer to writer and paper to paper. Students may find it useful to begin by reflecting on what they were trying to accomplish with their early drafts, with the critical distance afforded by time, learning, and feedback. Before students can respond effectively to feedback they may need help interpreting the feedback they've received, either through conversation with the instructor or peer reviewers or through reflective writing. Students may also need to be reminded that, while instructor comments and assignments might have targeted specific skills, they have been learning a variety of skills in the composition class that can and should be accounted for in revision.

Instructors are most effective at teaching revision when they understand it as complex but teachable, resisting the urge to simply assign revision and instead dedicating significant amounts of class time to discussing revision, modeling it, and assigning specific homework tasks in which students begin to enact it. Some instructors prefer to address revision in an intensive period at the end of the quarter so that students can focus on acts of revision as directly contributing to a polished portfolio of work; other instructors consistently incorporate revision throughout the class, so that students are continually developing, practicing, and planning for revision as a necessary part of the writing process.

Suggested skills/activities/exercises: reflective memos, writing center visits, fostering strong peer review practices

HANDOUTS/WORKSHEETS

LESSON PLANS

ASSIGNMENT PROMPTS

TIPS/EXTRA READINGS/USEFUL LINKS

EDITING AND PROOFREADING

When we think of editing and proofreading, we think of approaching written assignments on a micro-level; in other words, at the editing and proofreading stages we target lower order concerns, which mainly consist of grammar-related issues. Speakers of English from all backgrounds, as a first language and as another language (Multilingual Language Learners), often assign a high value to correct grammar and experience anxiety about sentence-level errors. Spending class time addressing grammar topics can relieve some of this anxiety and become an opportunity to transfer grammar-editing responsibilities from the instructor to the student, including having students maintain an "error log."

Because grammar instruction can sometimes be perceived as boring and punishing, activities that require creativity, collaboration, or critical thinking are especially effective; lessons that reframe grammar in terms of rhetorical choices rather than absolute rules can also create links between sentence construction and other writing choices, such as style and tone. Even if explicit grammar instruction seems unnecessary at times in a given classroom, it is still useful to have resources on hand that you can refer individual students to or use during office hours.

Suggested skills/activities/exercises: error logs, mini grammar presentations, rhetorical grammar exercises, focused paragraph feedback

HANDOUTS/WORKSHEETS

LESSON PLANS

ASSIGNMENT PROMPTS

TIPS/EXTRA READINGS/USEFUL LINKS

PORTFOLIO SEQUENCES

Here are materials available for the portfolio sequence.

Suggested skills/activities/exercises: cover letter peer review

HANDOUTS/WORKSHEETS

LESSON PLANS

  • to be uploaded

ASSIGNMENT PROMPTS

TIPS/EXTRA READINGS/USEFUL LINKS

  • to be uploaded