When Doug Downs and Elizabeth Wardle published their article “Teaching about Writing, Righting Misconceptions” in June 2007, they challenged the field to imagine a new approach to first-year composition. Their groundbreaking new reader, Writing About Writing, does exactly that, by encouraging students to draw on what they know in order to contribute to ongoing conversations about writing and literacy.
Class-tested by thousands of students, Writing about Writing presents accessible writing studies research by authors such as Donald Murray, Mike Rose, and Deborah Brandt, together with popular texts by authors such as Malcolm X, Sherman Alexie, and Junot Díaz. Throughout the book, friendly explanations and scaffolded questions help students connect to readings and — even more important — develop knowledge about writing they can use at work, in their everyday lives, and in college.
The conversation on writing about writing continues on the authors' blog, Write On: Notes on Writing about Writing (a channel on Bedford Bits, Bedford/St.Martin's blog for teachers of writing).
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Elizabeth Wardle is an associate professor and the Director of Writing Programs at the University of Central Florida. Her research interests center on genre theory, transfer of writing-related knowledge, and infusing composition classrooms with the field's best understandings of how writing works. She is currently conducting a study examining the impact of smaller class size on the learning of composition students, as well as a study examining the impact of the writing-about-writing pedagogy on student writing and attitudes about writing. Doug Downs is an assistant professor of rhetoric and composition in the Department of English at Montana State University. His research interests center on research-writing pedagogy and facilitating undergraduate research both in first-year composition and across the undergraduate curriculum. He continues to work extensively with Elizabeth Wardle on writing-about-writing pedagogies and is currently studying problems of researcher authority in undergraduate research in the humanities.
Elizabeth and Doug, along with several of their colleagues, have been furthering the conversation on writing-about-writing pedagogy on their Bedford Bits blog, Write On: Notes on Teaching Writing about Writing. Visit the blog to contribute to the discussion and get some useful tips for teaching with Writing about Writing: A College Reader.
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