Friday, April 29, 2011

Annotated Research in English (5)

Topics: persuasive writing; time in timed writing; writing to learn

Persuasive Writing
Question: What contributes to good persuasive writing?

Answer: “Use of logical appeals, five-paragraph structures, coherence, and number of words were strongly related to overall quality ratings.” R Durst, et al. 1990. P. 450.

Comment: Note the use of “five-paragraph structure” among the appealing characteristics in good persuasive writing. The summary did not say “five paragraphs.” “Logical appeals” and “coherence” would be expected characteristics. Not sure what “number of words” means. RayS.

Time in Timed Writing Assessments
Question: Does allowing more time in timed writing assessments lead to better performance?

Answer: “Allowing students more time to write generally led to better ;performance.” LB Kerchner. 1989. P. 450.

Comment: The word “generally” suggests that allowing more time in timed writing assessments does not hold for everyone. I’d like to see a test of the 15-minue SAT writing assessment for would-be college students. This experiment was used with third, fifth and seventh graders. RayS.

Writing to Learn
Question: Did those who wrote extended responses improve reading comprehension as opposed to those who wrote answers to short-answer questions?

Answer: “Students who did extended writing after reading scored higher on a post-test than students who answered short-answer questions.” BC Konopak, et al. 1990. P. 451.

Comment: I wonder what the “extended writing” students wrote about? What were the directions? RayS.

Title: “Annotated Bibliography of Research in the Teaching of English.” RK Durst and JD Marshall. Research in the Teaching of English (December 1990), 441-457.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Annotated Research in English (4)

Topics: Self-assessment of writing processes; business writing; task-specific writing strategies

Question: How can self-assessments of writing processes by other writers help in learning to write?

Answer: “Exploring writers’ self-assessed processes and the implications for teaching writing.” “Found value in examining the self-assessments of other writers.” RW Luce. 1989. P. 449.

Comment: These self-assessments of writing processes can provide new ways of approaching writing and realization that other student writers have similar problems. Interesting. RayS.

Business Writing
Question: What is one hindrance to effective business writing?

Answer: “…found that participants worked from stereotypes about what constitutes good business writing.” RW Shuy and DG Robinson. 1990. P. 449.

Comment: “In re…” and other specialized abbreviations “off put” readers of business correspondence. RayS.

Task-specific Writing Strategies
Question: How do general composing strategies affect task-specific writing?

Answer: “Students who learned task-specific composing strategies brought to bear a wider range of thinking strategies in writing than did students who used general procedures for writing” P Smagorinsky. 1989. P. 450.

Comment: The problem with these short annotated summaries of research is that they very often do not explain terms. For instance, I’m not sure what “task-specific” writing strategies mean. I’m guessing that it means writing résumés, letters of application, and more specific types of business correspondence, for example. And for that type of writing, I begin with models. RayS.

Title: “Annotated Bibliography of Research in the Teaching of English.” RK Durst and JD Marshall. Research in the Teaching of English (December 1990), 441-457.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Annotated Research in English (3)

Topics: pre-writing; revision; audience.

Question: How do pre-writing activities affect quality of writing?

Answer: “Found a positive correlation between amount of initial planning and text quality.” L Carey. 1989. 447.

Comment: I’m not sure what is meant by “planning.” In my experience, pre-writing consists of two steps: brainstorming the topic, and careful construction of the thesis sentence. RayS.

Question: How do students revise?

Answer: “Students relied heavily on teacher comments, seldom expressing their own purposes or authorship.” GH Dohrer. 1989. P. 447.

Comment: Suggests to me that teacher comments need to focus on students’ making their own changes. Interesting. RayS.

Question: How can scientists make comprehension less difficult in writing professional articles in journals?

Answer: “Demonstrated that even within the constraints of the journal article, scientists have considerable freedom to exercise choices concerning audience.” G Gragson and J Selzer. 1990. P. 447.

Comment: For instance, the writer can explain technical language for the non-scientist and use diagrams, etc., to clarify concepts. But will they bother to do so? The same can be true for the non-researcher audience in published educational research. RayS.

Title: “Annotated Bibliography of Research in the Teaching of English.” RK Durst and JD Marshall. Research in the Teaching of English (December 1990), 441-457.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Research: Annotated Bibliography of Research in English (2)

Topics: Writing Across the Curriculum, Writing Strategies, Feelings about Writing.

Writing Across the Curriculum
Question: Why do writing- across- the- curriculum programs fail in the U.S.?

Answer: “Argues that cross-curriculum writing instruction has failed in the United States because it resists the compartmentalization of knowledge and challenges the assumption that writing is a single skill.” DR Russell. 1990. P. 445.

Comment: Something to think about. RayS.

Writing Strategies
Question: How do students go about writing? What methods do they use when they write?

Answer: “Suggested a need for teachers to be sensitive to…students’ writing strategies.” C Aungpredathep. 1989. Pp. 146-147.

Comment: One of the first questions to students on the first day of writing class should be “How do you go about writing?” to determine if they have any strategies for when they write. RayS.

Feelings about Writing
Question: How do individual students feel about writing?

Answer: “Unlike most work on the psychology of writing, looks at affective as opposed to cognitive aspects of writing, exploring the impact of emotion on the act of writing.” AG Brand. 1987. P. 447.

Comment: Another question for the first day of class: “How do you feel about the act of writing?” May reveal apprehension. RayS.

Title: “Annotated Bibliography of Research in the Teaching of English.” RK Durst and JD Marshall. Research in the Teaching of English (December 1990), 441-457.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Annotated Bibliography of Research (1)

Topics: Journal Writing, Writing Conferences and “Writing” Defined.

Journal Writing
Question: How does academic journal writing make up for the shortcomings of class discussion?

Answer: “A journal approach to teaching allowed for displays of knowledge and ability often precluded by the dynamics of classroom public interactions.” RJ Templeton. 1988. P. 442-443.

Comment: Allows for individual interpretations and responses by students who are unwilling to express them in class discussions. RayS.

Writing Conferences
Question: Which students gain the most from writing conferences?

Answer: “Conferences were most helpful for students who began with the least knowledge of revision and who needed the most help in writing.” J Fitzgerald and C Stamm. 1990. P. 444.

Comment: Use conferences with students who will benefit most from them? Of course, other students can request conferences with the teacher. RayS.

“Writing” Defined
Question: How is “writing” defined by some K-3 teachers?

Answer: “Writing as a process of composing an original thought was not emphasized while writing as handwriting was.” SM Holmes. 1988. P. 444.

Comment: I wonder how many teachers of young children still think of writing as handwriting in 2011? RayS.

Title: “Annotated Bibliography of Research in the Teaching of English.” RK Durst and JD Marshall. Research in the Teaching of English (December 1990), 441-457.