Why Use Writing Workshops and How to Use Them Well.


Why Use Writing Workshops and How to Use Them Well

Why Workshop Drafts?

1) Workshops reinforces key concepts of academic writing:

  • drafts are a work in process
  • writing must make sense for an audience beyond the professor
  • revision is not “fixing” but seeing afresh and rethinking from that perspective

2)  Workshopping helps students see each other as resources

  • writers gain valuable feedback
  • giving feedback helps them learn how to talk about papers
  • reading other papers helps them see their own writing in a new way

3) Workshops make professors more effective writing teachers

  • reduces the amount of time that needs to be spent commenting on each draft
  • allows professors to focus on specific issues and problem areas (such as introductions)
  • provides extra feedback and generally produces stronger paper

Best Practices for Success

  • Provide structure: Tell the class what you are going to do, then do it, then comment on it
  • Teach first: begin by introducing the topic for review, reference TS/IS or the Owl if relevant
  • Model the process: review a few examples together and talk through what to look for
  • Direct the feedback: provide a feedback sheet or set of very focused questions
  • Step out of the way: the workshops need to be a space for student voices, resist the urge to join each group and take over