15% of final course grade
Writing Workshops are feedback sessions in which
you share a draft with another reader and they offer their responses
to it as readers. We will engage in many peer review sessions, and
you will be expected to engage deeply with each and every one of
those as both a writer and a reader. You should also expect to
contribute as enthusiastically, knowledgeably, diplomatically, and
productively as possible to any and all class, pair, and writing
group discussions. In order to do so, you must also be prepared for
each and every meeting of both class and your official writing
group. In short, all interactive activities assigned and carried out
in class and in your writing group will be considered
“participation.” Please do not be fooled into thinking that this is
a “gimme” grade. It is possible for a student to be here every day
and still do very poorly in this category. Keep up with your
readings, your writing assignments, and everything else necessary to
be a trusted and reliable member of each writing community of which
you are a part this term (certainly those related to English 100).
The “togetherness” and “group” aspects of your English 100
Writing Group and the multiple Peer
Review sessions you will have in your English 100 Class are very
important to what we do because we believe that when done “right”
and “well” reading and writing are intensely demanding physical,
intellectual, and—above all—social activities. The act of reading
and writing will demand the physical, intellectual, and social
attention of any literate being, but in academic contexts it is the
intensity of that attention—that conversation—that sets the strong
readers and writers apart from less effective ones. Talking about
what we write before we actually write it, while we are writing it,
after we write it, and at every stage in-between stimulates the
conversation that is a natural and integral part of any effective
and flexible reading and writing process.
Your Writing Group will focus almost exclusively on this sort of
productive dialogue about writing. Your
English 100 Class
will also have do much work of this sort (vi group discussions,
presentations, peer review sessions before turning in
each writing assignment,
Even when I sit alone in a room at midnight banging away at the
keyboard, writing is still “conversation.” I am speaking to the
readers who may eventually read what I am writing, and I am speaking
back to the people I have read and otherwise conversed with before I
sat down to start writing. Since I am not speaking to my readers
directly and watching their reactions to my words and ideas, I must
simply imagine how they may respond to me. I can’t really know. I
just have to guess.
But when you get together with other writers and engage in
productive dialogue with them about writing, you help each member
help themselves (and help yourself in the process). That’s what your
Writing Group and your peer review sessions (in class) are about.
Your tutor and your instructor will help foster and support these
productive relationships among writers, and it is these
relationships that will promote and sustain productive dialogue
about writing. When writers actually speak with other writers about
what they are writing and their reactions to what they are writing,
these writers make this “written conversation” real to them in ways
that better enable them to develop prose likely to be heard,
understood, and taken seriously within a given context.
Anything you write is actually a conversation that occurs in a
particular place among human beings who have had previous
experiences that shape how they will engage with and in this
“conversation.” Effective writers build productive relationships
among participants in this “conversation” by reflecting on those
previous experiences and engaging with, reflecting upon, predicting
and, perhaps, imagining the previous experiences and values of the
others who may be involved in these conversations.
In your Writing Group, your class, and, as much as possible,
elsewhere else, we will talk about ideas not rules, concepts not
grammar. Your tutors and your instructor will share our responses to
a given text as a reader with certain expectations and experiences
that are neither right nor wrong but are contextually-bound. That
is, we know something about how writers write for many of the
college-level courses in which you are enrolled, but we are simply a
handful of many informed readers you can expect to learn from in
your Writing Group and your Peer Review sessions. Thus, we will also
expect the other writers in your group to help by offering their
informed readings of the essays you create.
Neither your tutor nor your classmates is here to “judge” or “grade”
the writing you are doing in your other courses. We are here to
support that writing by responding to it as readers and sharing our
experiences as writers. We won’t share our responses to a text as an
evaluator with the “right” answers and the authority to judge the
worth of a given text in order to make you write “correctly.” We are
here to help you help yourself by treating you as a real writer with
important ideas worthy of being heard, understood, and taken
Your tutor and your English 100 instructor will do everything we can
to establish and maintain productive relationships among the members
of this Writing Group and your English 100 course. All of us must
work together, however, to leave room for original ideas,
risk-taking behavior, and inquiry. For this reason among many
others, we must be able to depend on you to do everything you can to
contribute to an ongoing, productive dialogue about writing by
consistently coming to each meeting on time, completely prepared,
and ready to work hard for the other members of your group.
The success of this group depends on each of us.
Together, we will read and respond to each other through the work we
produce, and we will do what we can to reflect upon these
experiences as readers and writers in order to gain greater
awareness and, therefore, flexibility as literate individuals in a
variety of contexts.
The final project in your Writing
Group will be a formal essay in which you describe who you are as a
writer and how your work with this Writing Group has influenced the
ways you approach and negotiate specific writing activities.
Since so much of your time in here will be devoted to facilitating a
greater awareness of your writing self, it seems appropriate to
begin with a discussion of how you currently see yourself as a
How would you complete the following sentences?
Before today, my writing has been . . .
Writing makes me feel . . . .
As a writer, I am . . . .
I like to write . . . .
My greatest concern as a writer is . . . .
The best writing experience I ever had was when . . . .
The worst writing experience I ever had was when . . .
I hope English 100 will teach me . . . .