Hearing Ourselves Think: Cognitive Research in the College Writing Classroom

By Barbara M. Sitko; Ann M. Penrose | Go to book overview
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can be informally tested: with comprehension questions (prepared by instructor or students), in interviews between groups, by comparing written recalls of the source text. Students who simply paraphrased may be able to answer factual questions correctly but be unable to recall the author's main idea or purpose and will probably not have noticed problems or inconsistencies in the author's argument. Students who wrote analyses should be better able to answer questions about the author's point of view or the type of evidence used in the argument. It is important to point out, of course, that these essentially quantitative measures of learning are limited. Class discussion can encourage students to think about what other kinds of learning are demonstrated in essays such as Ned's or Ruth's.

Activities such as these, which enable students to examine the complex interaction of writing and learning firsthand, help them to discover that writers make choices and that these choices have consequences -- not just for the quality of their writing but for the quality of their learning as well. If we can help students develop this awareness and learn to choose among alternatives, we will have helped them develop strategies for learning beyond our writing classrooms.


Applebee A. N., Durst R. K., & Newell G. E. ( 1984). "The demands of school writing". In A. N. Applebee , Contexts for learning to write: Studies of secondary school instruction (pp. 55- 77). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

Bereiter C. & Scardamalia M. ( 1986). "Cognitive coping strategies and the problem of inert knowledge." In J. W. Segal, et al. (Eds.), Thinking and learning skills: Current research and open questions. Vol. 2. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Britton J. ( 1981). "Language and learning across the curriculum". Fforum, 2,55-56, 93-94.

Copeland K. A. ( 1985). "The effect of writing upon good and poor writers' learning from prose". Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Council of Teachers of English, Philadelphia.

Durst R. K. ( 1987). "Cognitive and linguistic demands of analytic writing". Research in the Teaching of English, 21( 4), 347-376.

Emig J. ( 1977). "Writing as a mode of learning". College Composition and Communication, 28, 122-128.

Faigley L. & Hansen K. ( 1985). "Learning to write in the social sciences". College Composition and Communication, 36( 2), 140-149.

Faigley L. & Witte S. ( 1981). "Analyzing revision". College Composition and Communication, 32( 4), 400-414.

Flower L. & Hayes J. R. ( 1981). "Plans that guide the composing process". In C. H. Frederiksen and J. F. Dominic (Eds.), Writing. The nature, development and teaching of written communication, Vol. 2 (pp. 39-58). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Flower L., Hayes J. R., Carey L., Schriver K., & Stratman J. ( 1986). "Detection, diagnosis, and the strategies of revision". College Composition and Communication, 37( 1), 16-55.

Flower L., Stein V., Ackerman J., Kantz M. J., McCormick K., & Peck W. C. ( 1990). Readingto-write: Exploring a cognitive and social process. New York: Oxford University Press.

Fulwiler T. ( 1982). "The personal connection: Journal writing across the curriculum". In T. Fulwiler & A. Young (Eds.), Language connections: Writing and reading across the curriculum. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.


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Hearing Ourselves Think: Cognitive Research in the College Writing Classroom


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