Teaching Revising Strategies

Apr 11 2007

Teaching Revising Strategies

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  • Introduce self-evaluation strategies. Teach students how to translate assignment guidelines and evaluation criteria into questions they can pose to themselves and their draft readers.
    • Meeting of Minds describes self-evaluation, peer evaluation, and instructor evaluation. The authors offer tips for self-evaluation, including reading out loud and taking a break between drafting and revising. (See p. 332 for a complete description.)
    • The Brief Thomson Handbook offers a project checklist that includes reflective questions about the writing process/product, evaluative questions about the content and support, and descriptive questions about voice and tone (see p. 31). Additional checklists prompt revising for context, with questions about audience, purpose, and kairos (see p. 32), and revising for kinds of evidence (see p. 34).
    • Work in Progress lists questions on focus, content, and organization that  students can use for self-evaluation (see pp. 309-310).
  • Introduce strategies for revising with technology. Although students are used to working with many forms of technology, they might not have received instruction in strategies for writing with technology. Many recent rhetoric textbooks and some handbooks incorporate writing with technology into their discussions of the writing process.
    • The Brief Thomson Handbook includes guidelines for commenting on a document in a Word Processor and for tracking changes in a document (see pp. 38 & 41-42). These tools can help writers document their own revisions, assist peers who are offering feedback, and allow instructors to anchor their comments to specific portions of students’ texts.
    • Work in Progress encourages critical use of technology. The author identifies word processing functions that can aid revision but also prompts students to print drafts to aid global revision.
    • Most of the recommended texts include reminders to create backup copies of work, to save often, and to print hard copies periodically.
  • Go low-tech: Take scissors and tape into the class. Direct students to cut their printed papers into smaller chunks and to rearrange them until they find the order that makes the most sense to them. Twist: Have students give the chunks to a classmate to arrange.
  • Blind revision: Ask students to set aside their papers and to rewrite the introduction or conclusion based on their memory of the text and the main points they want to make. Then ask students to compare the new drafts to their papers and to plan revisions accordingly.
  • Require students to write a revision plan. This activity could be a five-minute write in class or a more formal out-of-class assignment. Prompt students to consider how they will respond to feedback, what timeline they will follow, how they will revise to better address audience needs, etc. Meeting of Minds includes an example (see p. 341).

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