How to improve your students’ writing/learning experience

Writing assignments have always caused me many struggles, not only as a student but also as a teacher. Personally, I had to learn how to write academically in English and Spanish (two completely different worlds), so I am aware of the challenge when I am assigning and responding to my students’ writing.

I find that students enrolled in language classes benefit greatly from low stakes writing; having a blog for the class where students contribute on a weekly basis with their ideas and thoughts about many and different topics covered in class (identity, language, ethnicity, etc.) allows them to freely participate and get actively involved. However, I think that the high stake writings are more challenging. I find it useful to elaborate the rubrics as a whole class and assign two drafts before the final version is due. How many drafts do your students submit before the final version? What techniques do you use to improve your students’ writing? On the other hand, I have attended several workshops and read about peer feedback in class. What do you think about it? Does it work with your students? I have tried to integrate it into my class several times but I have not been successful.

Language classes, as many other subjects, are a requirement for College students in which grammar based pedagogy does not have room for critical thinking. Students’ expectations and department policies restrain instructors and adjuncts to use different methodologies – a final common exam must be distributed to all the sections. What can we do to improve our students’ learning experience?

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