10-second review: The use of prose models of writing is an effective method of teaching writing.
Title: “Prose Modeling and Metacognition: The effect of Modeling on Developing a Metacognitive Stance Toward Writing.” Elizabeth A. Stolarek. Research in the Teaching of English (May 1994), 154-174. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).
Definition: “Metacognition” means simply thinking about thinking,” thinking about what you are doing when you are learning something.
Quote: Models show students how to organize a type of writing with which they are not familiar. “Those who support modeling assert that style can be improved through the modification of classical imitation exercises….; that models acquaint students with complicated structural conventions and patterns they have not previously used in their writing….” p. 154.
Quote: “This would suggest that instruction in which modeling works best would be characterized by a clear conception on the part of the instructor of what, exactly, is to be modeled, along with the presentation of a model which clearly exemplifies the characteristics which are to be modeled.” p. 173.
Comment: There are two types of modeling. In teaching writing, one type of modeling involves the use of prose examples and the other involves the instructor’s modeling a behavior as in demonstrating how to construct a thesis sentence. Both are important parts of writing instruction.
For example: I always give students a model of a completed expository composition with an introduction, thesis, middle paragraphs begun by topic sentences and a concluding summary paragraph. I also demonstrate with them how to brainstorm, how to write a thesis sentence, how to write a draft, including how to construct an introduction as the last step before revising and editing. RayS.