Praxis Blog, 9.9.2014


For use in 101/181.

I’m thinking about establishing a practice at the beginning of every class to begin with a free write responding to a question or quote that I’ve chosen. From a practical standpoint, perhaps I’ll have students have a course journal that I’ll evaluate solely on completion–I’ll think about other ways I would get them to use the journal somewhere down the line. Perhaps they can draw from these brief writings to develop revised and peer-workshopped blog posts.


I’m hoping that this daily writing will accomplish several things:

a) gather focus onto the material at the beginning of class

b) help students that may have a harder time speaking up with figuring out how to contribute

c) get the students comfortable with writing as a discipline–something that must be done regularly and methodically

d) develop ideas and even paragraphs that can be developed into graded essays

e) introduce whatever my goals for the class period are–so if we are talking about invention one day, they could have a brainstorming exercise, or if we’re focusing on revision, they could review one of their previous free writes and suggest revisions.

I’m hoping that using a specific prompt will be helpful for me, too, as it will force me to articulate my daily objectives.

I’m drawing directly from a couple of our readings here, without much revision–both Lyday and Jolliffe suggest this method as a way to structure class time. I think that these writings, as well as discussions about them with the whole class and in small groups could be a helpful exercise in invention.

I’m also hoping that these free writes will help students engage with topics and figure out where their own interests lie. I’m thinking of Stancliff, who, channeling Ramage, Bean, and Friere, writes that they “see writing largely as an act of posing questions, of ‘problematizing.’ They stress that successful writing projects begin with a question that comes from the writer’s life experience, one in which she or he has a personal stake as an individual and/or a member of a community” (267). By using the daily journal as a place for individual engagement with course topics, I’m hoping to help get students involved.

2 Replies to “Praxis Blog, 9.9.2014”

  1. Having students write daily is an excellent idea. They should expect to do that in a writing course! Down the line, you might have them develop discovery drafts of various sections of longer papers in their journals. You might even have them do some commonplace book assignments where they pick a quote or notice something in their reading, copy it out, and then reflect on why it is meaningful to them.

    Will you have them write these longhand or will you allow them to develop on electronic devices? Blog posts?

  2. I’m feeling inclined to ask for longhand writing–I’ve been TAing for classes with different laptop policies, and people seem so much more engaged when they don’t have a computer in front of them. But! I don’t want to run into problems with accessibility, or force people to write longhand just because I prefer it. Maybe a conversation about that would be a good way for me to let them have a say without having to go all the way to “negotiated curriculum”–which I’m a little wary of…

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