Structuring Reading/Writing Assignments to Improve Critical Thinking Skills

Sharon Doetsch-Kidder, Aimee Weinstein, Laurie Miller

Session Information

Year: 2018 | Time: 1:00pm-2:30pm | Location: MINI WORKSHOP: Johnson Center (Room A)

Abstract

BRIEF SESSION DESCRIPTION:

Conscious attention to reading improves all students’ comprehension of complex content and provides a strong basis for effective writing. Strategies developed at INTO Mason can be used to prepare students for more advanced summary and synthesis writing and to teach students to write for different audiences by developing genre awareness and critical thinking skills and by teaching them to use common rhetorical elements in their own writing.  These strategies can be used across a range of disciplines.  After attending the session, participants will be able to identify common rhetorical elements in written texts and to use rhetorical elements to structure reading and writing assignments in order to help students improve their understanding of course content and expectations and become more effective writers.

**Participants should bring an assignment (on paper) they want to revise/change and a reading (PDF) that can be connected to the assignment (as a source or a sample). 

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FULL ABSTRACT:

Research on multilingual learners has found that receptive skills (reading and listening) are the foundation of successful production (writing and speaking) (Haan and Mallett 2016). Conscious attention to reading improves all students’ comprehension of complex content and provides a strong basis for effective writing. In this workshop, participants will practice identifying common rhetorical elements in written texts, analyzing those elements, and using those elements to begin shaping a writing project for undergraduate or graduate students in any discipline. Participants should bring an assignment (on paper) they want to revise/change and a reading (PDF) that can be connected to the assignment (as a source or a sample).

After attending the session, participants will have identified at least one research-supported strategy (small change) that they can incorporate in their teaching to address a challenge or need in their course. Participants will also be aware of resources (books, websites, video series) to help them continue the process of identifying and implementing small changes. Finally, they will be connected to colleagues who are also interested in making small changes and can provide support and accountability moving forward. (We'd be thrilled if new teaching development groups emerged from the session.)

Full Text:

PDF Sample Assignments

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