Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What Do College Writers Need?

Kim Pavlock

On January 11, 2014, new and experienced teachers, along with pre-service teachers braved the snow, cold, and slippery roads to attend the EMWP Literacy for Life Saturday Session: “What do College Writers Need?”

Teacher Consultants Cindy Guillean, Chelsea Lonsdale, Pam McCombs, and Kim Pavlock, all EMU first-year writing instructors, spoke about the different kinds of writing students are asked to do in college and those qualities that help students be successful writers. Two EMU students, freshman Erika Greassley and sophomore Gloria Howard, talked about their transition to college and what college writing has been like for them. Their expectations compared to what they experienced in college was, as one workshop participant noted, “eye-opening.” Very different from the five-paragraph essay and the test-prep they practiced in high school, the writing assignments they encountered included writing field notes, interviews, ethnographies, inquiry essays, genre studies, websites, and more.

This Saturday workshop demonstrated the brilliance of the Writing Project way: teachers teaching teachers. When we add to that the insight gleaned from students teaching teachers, what a combination! As one teacher commented, “Sessions like these rejuvenate my teaching and remind me what I’m passionate about is possible to transmit to students.”

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