Review and Revision

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

Working with Non-native-English-Speaking 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.

Staging the Exchange: Learning to Read and Write Beyond Similarity and Opposition

by Ragini Tharoor Srinivasan, Rhetoric
[A]sked to write an essay that deals with more than one primary text, [students’] tendency is … to either illustrate the ways in which the texts make equivalent arguments, or to pit one text/author against the other… I realized that I needed to do more to teach students what it means to bring two texts “into conversation.”

Translating from Shakespeare to Modernism: An Experiment in How Form Affects Meaning

by Marianne Kaletzky, Comparative Literature
One of the core principles of literary analysis is that the form of literature — the language an author uses, the way he or she structures the text, and the stylistic conventions he or she employs — means as much as the content. … I wanted to help my students not only to become more attentive to formal features, but also to understand why those formal features matter … To cultivate this understanding, I decided to give my students an unconventional writing assignment …

To Risk an Argument: Tweeting towards Independent Theses in English R1B

by Kathryn Fleishman, English
Challenged with independent critical thinking and absorbed in a network of ideas that reached out of our classroom and into their everyday lives, my students developed the willingness to risk an argument along with a strong grasp of the research process. … [S]tudents polished the opinions they had proffered as tweets and comments into solid theses for their individual research projects, transforming uncertain, visceral reactions into logical, distinctive arguments.

Starting with Art for the First Time

Elaine Yau, History of Art
I have often noted that students who have never had an art history course can be overwhelmed by a commonplace assumption that artistic “masterpieces” are self-evidently great. This point of departure usually results in hackneyed discussions about beauty, perfection, or “pinnacles of civilization.” I wanted my first writing assignment to provide a structured, accessible process for formal analysis that would equip students with a vocabulary from which to build their own interpretations confidently — to treat paintings as primary sources from a moment in history.