Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2012


Drawing on the fundamentals of Writing to Learn pedagogy, this article describes how teachers across the disciplines can use in-class writing as a learning tool. Because in-class writing activities foreground the power of writing as a means for processing and integrating information, using writing prompts during times of transition common to every class—at the beginning or end of class, when moving from topic to topic or activity to activity, or at the conclusion of a particularly rich discussion—can serve to focus and extend student engagement. Offering practical advice and examples from his own teaching experiences, the author shows how structuring in-class writing at transitions not only encourages students to explore multiple perspectives on course content and to take risks in articulating complex ideas, but also builds classroom community in the process, especially when supplemented by discussion and formal writing assignments. Helping students understand that writing is a support for their learning and not just a mechanism for assessment and evaluation gives them a tool they can use to build skills and knowledge in future courses.


This article was originally published in the Journal of College Literacy & Learning.



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