Here we're collecting articles, books, and other materials that you may find useful as you design and teach your writing courses. But we've only just begun. If you have an article that you think your colleagues would enjoy, please contact Karen Gocsik, Executive Director of the Writing Program.
- "The Major Pedagogical Theories," James Berlin, College English 44 (1982): 765 - 77. This seminal article rather neatly classifies the four different methods of teaching writing, arguing that each has very different notions about "truth," as well as different ideas of author, audience, and language. Berlin ultimately argues that we need to be clear about the methods we choose to teach writing; otherwise, we risk sending students conflicting and confusing methods about what it means to write academically.
- "Writing with Teachers: A Conversation with Peter Elbow," David Bartholomae, Journal of College Composition and Communication 46.1 (Feb. 1995): 62-71. In this famous back-and-forth, Bartholomae and Elbow argue about one of the most persistent issues in teaching comp: Should we teach writing by encouraging students to find their own voices (the personal/process approach), or should teach them to acquire the values, conventions, and voices of academic writing? The debate is enjoyable and evocative—primarily because these two are such wonderful writers.
- "Competing Theories of Process: A Critique and a Proposal," Lester Faigley, College English 48 (1986): 527-42. This article justifies the process approach on theoretical terms.
- What the Best College Teachers Do, Ken Bain. Bain's book is one of the best and most readable books about how and why to employ active learning methods in your teaching. While the book does not focus on the teaching of writing, its principles are easily applied.
- Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paolo Friere. Friere's seminal work argues against what he calls "the banking model of education," in which students passively receive knowledge from the professor and instead promotes what we would now call active learning models. (See especially Chapter Two.)
- "Cognition, Convention, and Certainty: What We Need to Know About Writing," Patricia Bizell, Journal of Rhetorical Theory, 3 (1982): 213-243.
- "William Perry and Liberal Education," Patricia Bizell, College English, 46 (1984): 447-54.
- "Writing as a Mode of Learning," Janet Emig, College Composition and Communication 28.2 (1977): 122-28. Emig argues that writing is a distinct way of learning, different from speaking, and significant in its differences.
- "Writing as a Way of Knowing," James McCrimmon, The Promise of English: NCTE Distinguished Lectures, 115-130. McCrimmon argues that writing is an effective way of mastering content in any discipline.
- "On Students' Rights to Their Own Texts: A Model of Teacher Response," Lil Brannon and C.H. Knoblauch, CCC 33 (1982), 157 - 166. The writers suggest a facilitative rather than a directive approach to responding to student writing, arguing that the facilitative approach ensures that students will retain ownership of their writing educations.
- "Responding to Student Writing," Nancy Sommers, CCC 33 (1982): 148 - 56. Sommers, who for many years ran the Expos program at Harvard, offers good, commonsense advice about how best to respond to student papers.
- Anything by Linda Flower. Using a technique called "protocol analysis," Flower recorded what happens in a student's writing process and determined that most young writers compose writer-based rather than reader-based prose. In other words, they write to make sense to themselves, without fully considering their audiences (or perhaps not considering the audience at all). Flower's handbook, Problem-Solving Strategies for Writing (Harcourt Brace 1998), was revolutionary in moving students to revise their papers from writer-based to reader-based prose.
- "A Cognitive Process Theory of Writing," Linda Flower and John Hayes, CCC 32 (1981): 365-87. This was one of the first articles to discuss writing as a recursive process, requiring revision.
- "Inventing the University," David Bartholomae, When a Writer Can't Write: Studies in Writer's Block and Other Composing-Process Problems (ed. Mike Rose). This article argues that first-year writers must re-invent the university before they can locate themselves within academic discourse. A stronger sense of audience will help students to write and revise their prose.
- Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace, Joseph Williams. The first four chapters of this book are very useful in helping students understand why sentences work (or don't work), and how to make them better.
- Elements of Alternate Style, Wendy Bishop, editor and contributor, 1997. This book has several essays that suggest ways that students might explore alternate styles in order to see academics as intellectual "play."
- "On the Possibility of a Unified Theory of Composition and Literature," Patricia Bizell, Rhetoric Review 4 (1986): 174-80. Bizell proposes rhetorical study as a way of teaching writing, with culture as the studied text.
- "Rhetorical Reading Strategies and the Construction of Meaning," Chistina Haas and Linda Flower, CCC 39 (1988): 167-83.
- "Made Not Only in Words: Composition in a New Key," Kathleen Blake
Yancey, CCC 57 (December 2004). An important article, in
that Yancey makes several interesting points about where composition is
going and what we must do to get there.
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