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Promoting writing and critical thinking
MRIC 2014/15

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Promoting writing and critical thinking

"Promoting Writing and Critical Thinking in Undergraduate Classrooms"

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 | 12:30-1:30 p.m. 
Crest-Horizons, Idaho Commons

John Bean - Seattle University, visiting scholar, Department of English


Learning to write in a major field means learning to “think like a professional” in that discipline. Drawing on assignment examples from across the curriculum, this presentation will try to show how short writing assignments focused on authentic disciplinary problems can accelerate students’ growth from novice to expert within a disciplinary field. Using the principle of backward design of the curriculum—often facilitated by faculty-owned assessment—faculty can create assignments that gradually increase in complexity and difficulty. By scaffolding assignments within a course or curriculum, faculty can help novices learn to do undergraduate research-- to pose disciplinary questions, conduct inquiry, write literature reviews that position their work within a conversation, and produce their own idea-rich arguments.

John C. Bean is an emeritus professor of English at Seattle University, where he held the title of “Consulting Professor of Writing and Assessment.” He has an undergraduate degree from Stanford (1965) and a Ph.D. from the University of Washington (1972). He is the author of Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom, 2nd edition (Jossey-Bass, 2011. He has published numerous articles on writing and writing-across-the-curriculum as well as on literary subjects including Shakespeare and Spenser. His current research and writing focus on the development of institutional assessment strategies that promote productive faculty conversations about teaching and learning.
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