Writing 2-3 is the only first-year writing course that has a teaching assistant attached to each section. The teaching assistant is an essential component of Writing 2-3. Faculty and students concur that the program would not be fully successful without this special support.
TAs provide students the opportunity for focused, individualized writing instruction. Writing is an idiosyncratic activity. Writing 2-3 writers possess widely diverse strengths and weaknesses and employ very different writing strategies. In order for our students to become competent writers, we offer them instruction that attends to their particular needs. The teaching assistants, meeting with each student for one hour each week, diagnose individual writing weaknesses and prescribe strategies compatible with each student's learning style.
TAs show students how to be students. TAs are not simply writing instructors. They are also actively engaged in showing students how to read carefully, to think critically, and to undertake research. But it goes further still: TAs mentor students as they acclimate to college life - for instance, helping students understand academic expectations and etiquette; teaching them how to navigate the library; pointing them to academic support services; recommending books, lectures, and groups for students to join; suggesting strategies for managing time; and so on.
TAs promote the development of student communities. TAs offer opportunities for students to meet outside of class, in small groups, to discuss the course's reading and writing assignments. Typically, these small group meetings encourage students to develop social relationships based on common academic pursuits. Frequently these relationships continue throughout the students' years at Dartmouth.
TAs are engaged in important teaching partnerships with the 2-3 faculty. Though the Writing 2-3 instructors are exceptionally committed to their students, they nonetheless rely on the TAs to keep them abreast of their students' progress. TAs regularly alert instructors not only to problems with individual students, but to shared confusion, anxiety, and concerns.
Last Updated: 7/9/08