Best Practices

This list of some common best practices in writing instruction is meant to give a general overview for those looking for ways to enhance their writing pedagogy. This list is meant as only a starting point, and please note that disciplinary writing conventions and expectations are also important to take into account. 

  • Designing meaningful writing assignments, with real or defined rhetorical situation (audience, purpose, genre)
  • Designing meaningful evaluation criteria/rubric in writing, referring to and using this throughout the writing process for students (and using in-class). Prizes content and higher order concerns like use of evidence and audience awareness over lower order concerns like spelling and grammar.
  • Building in practice with the writing process, and giving credit for engaging in the writing process (i.e., invention/brainstorming, research, drafting, peer-response, visiting the Writing Center, revising, editing), over time. Acknowledge that this process is iterative (writers go back and forth b/w different parts of the writing process), and not linear (start with brainstorming, go through process in order all the way until editing and stop).
  • Breaking up larger writing projects into smaller chunks, making them due across time
  • Asking for and giving credit for process documents like Annotated Bibliographies, multiple rough drafts, working schedules  (where students plan ahead their writing time and adjust as they go along), Research Logs (to track their research, which search engines or databases they’ve used, with which search terms, the results, etc.)
  • Portfolios
  • Asking student to write reflections on what they learned about content and writing AFTER assignment is complete
  • Multiple revisions
  • Conferencing with faculty throughout process
  • Discussing the value of working with a consultant in the Writing Center and encouraging students to visit the WC (perhaps consider offering extra credit – like dropping the lowest homework grade – if students visit; but please do not require your students to visit the WC).