5) In class, students form groups of threes. I attempt to engineer the make of the groups as the semester goes on to keep them fresh and not cliques. I want them to find the workshop helpful to their revision process. Later in the semester, I may quietly put weaker students with stronger students or students who are rule-bound with free thinkers. By engineering in this way I am hoping to assist each student grow. One of my favorite revision workshop templates to give each student at least two positive opinions for consideration when revising can be found in Appendix B. I will outline it here. I put the instructions on the board or distribute them as a handout.
I ask each student reader to respond to each student writer in the group so that each student leaves with two sets of written (in sentences) responses to consider when revising. I ask that they write “three things that he/she likes about the paper.” As the semester progresses, I narrow the range of responses from grammar to meeting assignment expectations to developed arguments and support interpreted and its relevance explained. I also ask for “three things he/she would change if it were his/her paper.” I avoid (and ask students avoid) stating what they think is wrong with the paper, but rather to list what might need changing: argument development, underdeveloped introductions, spelling habits, etc. Writing is a difficult skill for many and focusing student writers on how they are communicating well and where they might consider change has proven an effective method. After the workshop, I review good academic-writing habits and strategies, and later in the semester, I focus on the ones with which the particular class seems to have trouble. If a workshop on introductions and conclusion or one on proofreading is needed, I usually grant it and assign it for the next class.
Before the workshop class is finished, I ask students to save a copy of a rough draft because they will be including it with their final draft (with a works cited page) in a MicroSoft Word document and sending it as an attachment to me by a certain time on a certain day. I continue to be available to them via email and in person during office hours or during a previously arranged time. When grading their papers, I write in blue, commenting on the positives and negatives and suggest avenue to improvement within the paper itself, not via MicroSoft Review platform. I highlight, in tan, grammar or punctuation patterns troubling the student and refer to pages in handbooks that they might consider.
When teaching Frye, I am usually teaching a course on oppression in which the class explores the tool of the powerful in philosophical thinking throughout history. I often direct students to use Frye’s essay as a lens investigate another thinker’s writing. “Lenses” are vital tools for students seeking to understand relationships of thought and to achieve perspectival thinking for themselves. Toward the end of this course the class is asked to cull the various lenses and using at least four define oppression for themselves. At this point, each is prepared to begin researching in a field.