Teaching Editing Strategies

Apr 11 2007

Teaching Editing Strategies

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  • Integrate instruction on using handbooks. Students are more likely to turn to these resources if they know how to use them.
    • Introduce notable features of the handbook during the first week of class. Many handbooks include a brief introduction with tips for using the text.
    • Prepare a scavenger hunt activity, prompting students to answer writing questions by using the handbook. For many current handbooks, these questions could range from managing the writing process and writing with technology to making stylistic choices and integrating visuals.
    • In one-on-one or small group conferences, have students attempt to find answers to style and editing questions and citation questions using a handbook. Offer strategies for using navigational features (i.e., tabs, indices, table of contents).
  • Teach editing in context. Select one or two stylistic features or editing concerns to comment on and offer strategies for revisions or future writing. Research suggests that grammar instruction is most effective when offered in the context of students’ own writing and prioritized to focus on one or two topics per paper.
  • Allow last-minute edits before students submit. Do not penalize for these final edits. Twist: Encourage students to have a peer suggest edits before students submit their papers. Give students time to consider the edits, ask questions, and make changes before collecting papers.

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