The Thesis Statement as The Key to Unlock Essay Writing

by Julia Lewandoski, History Teaching Effectiveness Award Essay, 2018 After several semesters as a GSI and Reader for history classes, it has become clear to me that a concise, clear, and specific thesis statement is essential to a successful student paper. Developing a strong thesis statement enables students to frame Continue Reading >>

Beyond Bland: Inspiring Perceptive and Original Literary Interpretations

by Bristin Jones, Comparative Literature Teaching Effectiveness Award Essay, 2018 In my first semester teaching Reading and Composition (R&C) in the Comparative Literature department, I realized that one of the most significant challenges undergraduates face in engaging with literary texts is producing thought-provoking thesis statements and arguments. After years of Continue Reading >>

Collaborative Grading Rubrics for Assessing Student Writing

by Rosalind Diaz, English Teaching Effectiveness Award Essay, 2018 Grading rubrics are an invaluable teaching tool. Ideally, they promote fairness and transparency in assessment, and help students set reasonable goals, develop metacognition, and practice self-assessment. But a rubric can also act as a gatekeeper of knowledge. Vague, abstruse, or circularly Continue Reading >>

The Feedback Loop: When Less is More, and When More is Less

by Johann Koehler, Legal Studies (Home Department: Jurisprudence & Social Policy) Teaching Effectiveness Award Essay, 2016 Writing rarely improves without feedback. But even the most carefully prepared feedback, if offered a certain way, may remain unheeded. Take, for example, a common course structure: students endeavor to produce a long, meticulously Continue Reading >>

Review and Revision

Be clear about what “review” and “revise” mean, and give your students in-class practice with essay drafts.

Working with Multilingual Writers

GSIs sometimes see student papers that are dense with linguistic errors or lack basic rhetorical structures. Here are some effective ways to address the problems while also protecting your time.

The Hip Bone is Connected to the Thigh Bone: Fostering Higher-Order Learning by Not Answering Students’ Questions

by Julie Wesp, Anthropology
I wanted to create an environment that would stimulate higher-order learning and instill a deeper understanding and organization of the information. Answering the kind of questions the students were asking did not help them to piece together the parts into a whole; it only insinuated that repetitive memorization was the key to success. In an effort to break this cycle, during the next section I simply stopped answering them.