Handholds on rock climbing wall

Photo from gogogadgetscott's photostream on Flickr

The Faculty Hour session this week was about teaching students how to integrate their own voice with that of their sources.  At the end of the evening session, I asked the group what advice they thought I should share about this topic on this blog.  We rapidly identified the theme of our conversation: students need something to hold onto as they learn new skills, so instructors need to give students handholds.

Such handholds can take a wide variety of formats.  We talked about giving students assignment that provide a structure for the resulting writing.  For example, students might be asked to write a legal brief following the standard structure of issues, facts, analysis, and conclusion.  We talked about providing students with a good example and a bad example of the finished product for them to compare. We talked about providing students with clear criteria in a rubric.

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