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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bring research into the classroom and watch students respond, we often gain a sense of the strategic knowledge students already possess. Jeff, a B student at a very competitive university, was a capable writer to begin with, a student who had fared well in high school. But up until this history course, Jeff had never been asked to write an argument from sources of this nature. So what did modeling do for Jeff? In a post-task interview, Jeff himself said it best: "It (the strategies) set me in the right direction I needed to be going. I knew these strategies but I didn't know to use them." Indeed, Jeff had the ability to see connections in the data, draw inferences, and construct a set of relevant claims. At some level, he and most other students "know" these strategies. What they may not know, however, is when to use them or how they might take shape in the context of reading and planning an argument paper. jeff and students like him may just need a procedural map and a set of prompts to help them do what they are already quite capable of doing.


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Cooper C., Cherry R., Coley B., Fleischer S., Pollard R., & Sartisky M. ( 1984). Studying the writing abilities of a university freshman class: Strategies from a case study. In R. Beach & L. Bridwell (Eds.), New directions in composition research (pp. 19-52). New York: Guilford.

Crowhurst, M. ( 1991). Interrelationships between reading and writing persuasive discourse. Research in the Teaching of English, 25, 314-338.

Curtin E. ( 1988). The research paper in high school writing programs: Examining connections between goals of instruction and requirements of college writing. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh.

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Harris M. ( 1983). Modeling: a process method of teaching. College English 45, pp. 74-78.


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