Philosophy of Teaching Writing

Five assumptions about the teaching of writing and about how students best learn to write guide the curriculum in First-Year Writing at John Carroll University.

  1. Because good writing does not take place outside of a context, we design writing assignments that ask students to focus on a purpose, to address the needs of different audiences and rhetorical situations, and to use the conventions and forms appropriate to the rhetorical situation, whether it’s academic, public, or personal.
  2. Because critical thinking is a necessary component of all university learning, we teach students to weigh conflicting points of view on different issues, to evaluate, analyze, and synthesize appropriate primary and secondary sources, and to understand relationships among language, knowledge, and power.
  3. Because writing is a process, we teach students to write multiple drafts as a method of creating and completing a successful text, to value the act of writing itself, and to develop appropriate strategies for generating, revising, editing, and proofreading texts.
  4. Because reading is integral to writing, we teach students that reading provides support for various writing processes and that many writing assignments are structured around different readings. We also stress that reading itself is a social process indicative of a student’s personal history, experience, and social context.
  5. Because learning is social, we teach students to understand the collaborative and social aspects of writing processes, to critique their own and others’ work, and to balance the advantages of relying on others with the responsibility of doing their part.