Consistent with its counterparts at other colleges and universities, the WPWP understands writing as a complex, recursive, and highly situated social process. Learning to write well—not to mention learning to teach writing effectively—requires guided practice that is varied and sustained.
The 'Pedagogical Model' we advocate has the potential to inform any course in which writing is done. Specifically-enumerated approaches in the model are implemented to varying degrees in all courses linked to the Writing Program. In combination with the distinct Curricular Standards articulated for these courses (First-Year Composition, Writing-In-The-Core, Writing-In-The-Major, Writing-In-The-Profession), their Signature Writing Events , and the Writer ePortfolios that all cadets maintain, this model encourages students to take ownership in their own development as writers and see writing effectively as integral to their professional development and lifelong learning.
Course directors are welcome to collaborate with Writing Program leaders to learn more about integrating more effective pedagogical approaches to writing into their overall course objectives.
Pedagogical Model: Seven Approaches
- Low or No Stakes Writing: Cadets are asked to use writing to engage with and learn primary material in the course. (e.g. brief summaries or reflections, problem statements, discussion questions, reading responses, journaling, case briefs, rhetorical or stylistic exercises, etc.)
- Modeling: Faculty help explain a major writing assignment by distributing and discussing relevant guidelines and examples. (Examples could be accomplished or ineffective, drawn from scholarly or professional writing in the field or from student or faculty writing at USMA or elsewhere.)
- Planning or Prewriting: Cadets are asked and equipped to complete planning or prewriting activities inside or outside of class in relation to a major writing assignment. (e.g. annotating, brainstorming, freewriting, blogging, clustering, dramatizing, concept-mapping, outlining, etc.)
- Scaffolding: Cadets are asked to iteratively draft one or more key components of a major writing assignment inside or outside of class. (e.g. theses, hypotheses, introductions, methods or results sections, literature reviews, conclusions, abstracts, charts, tables, figures, or other discrete elements.)
- Revising in Response to Feedback: Faculty provide cadets with feedback on ungraded drafts or pieces of drafts that cadets may use to revise before submitting a major writing assignment.
- Peer-to-Peer Workshopping: Cadets are asked to conduct collaborative, team-based conferences or workshops with each other inside or outside of class that centrally involve writing.
- Reflecting: Cadets are asked to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of their writing process and products in organized, formal ways. Reflections may be graded or ungraded. (Consider having cadets craft reflective cover letters to accompany major written graded events or providing other opportunities for them to examine their writing critically.)