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Cecilia’s Email Assignment Reflection

Cecilia’s Email Assignment Reflection

Cecilia Kabeya
English 100
Email Assignment
Professor Sarraf
September 17, 2019
Email Reflective Letter

This reflective letter is about what I have learned about communicating over time with another person from another country. We discussed what strategies to use to improve my writing, as well as the communication skills my partner and I learned. My partner’s name is Nathalie, a biology major and a sophomore at AUB. I have learned writing strategies in English 100 class. To be specific in fact, I wasn’t aware in advance what my writing should consist of and what formality it should be in. The skills I gained from completing this assignment are “email etiquette; negotiating meaning and reflecting.”

In this class, I practiced the skill of email etiquette which consists of responding in a timely manner, briefly introducing yourself, evaluating the importance of the email being sent and being aware of my audience. How I used these concepts in the emails I sent to my partner was by using friendly greetings such as, “Hi Dear” and “Best Regards,” and she adapted to that by responding to me with “Hello Dear” and “Kindest Regards.”

It’s much harder to keep a steady conversation with the emails due to the different time frames between the two countries. The first email I sent to her, I stated:

“I am Cecilia Kabeya, a freshman at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. I will be your partner over the next few weeks, discussing about the article we both will be reading for the email assignment. I look forward to this assignment and seeing what we accomplish in the end when it is due. I understand we are both coming from two different backgrounds, but I’m interested in getting to know you as well and adapting to your dialect.”

By sending her this email, I wanted to give her a friendly and respectful perception for a first impression and a brief introduction of myself at the same time. Also, I wanted to identify the importance of the email as well.

The skill of negotiation of meaning is a process that writers use to reach a clear understanding of each other. For example, asking for clarification, rephrasing, and confirming what you think you have understood are all strategies for the negotiation of meaning. In one of the emails sent by me, I expressed this by confirming the points that Nathalie had made about the reading. I wrote, “ I would like to start off by saying that I agree with the fact that you pointed out that, ‘English is the most popular language in the world. This is all due to the strong economy and political power of the English-speaking countries.’ For example, countries like the United States, England and Canada. If these countries weren’t wealthy or have economic power, English wouldn’t be the dominant speaking language.”

The skill of reflection is being able to respond to experiences, opinions, thoughts and feelings, and new information. This can help identify areas for improvement, still being aware of your strengths and weaknesses in your writing. Nathalie had sent me an email of her feelings on a specific part of the article and then asking my thoughts on it. She wrote, “We all know that today, English is the most popular language in the world. This is all due to the strong economy and political power of the English-speaking countries. Don’t you think so? Also, the fact that English is a simple language compared with some other complicated ones. I was surprised by the fact mentioned that by 2100 more than half the world’s languages will be gone. Astonishing isn’t it?” I responded by saying, “With my own personal experience, making a connection to this and you, are that English isn’t my first language. French is my first language… I’ve always wondered why languages from other countries beside English weren’t considered international, for example, Lingala is a language originated from Congo D.R.C but it’s not an international language.” In this response, specifically I showed demonstration of reflection, during this sentence, “For example countries like the United States, England and Canada. If these countries weren’t wealthy or have economic power, English wouldn’t be the dominant speaking language.” By agreeing with the point, and providing an example back to her, I demonstrated reflecting on my experience and giving a personal connection to her and the information from the reading.

Considering everything, I believe that I improved my writing skills more than I envisioned before starting this assignment. My main concern was not being able to complete this assignment to its full extent due to my writing capability. I have learned and develop writing skills pertaining to email etiquette, negotiating meaning, reflection and communication across borders. It was not as challenging as I thought it would be to discuss the reading with my partner, because she and I have two different cultural backgrounds. Lack of cultural understanding can cause misinterpretation, confusion, misjudgment and mistakes which will affect you to fail. I was aiming to build a relationship with my partner to cross the linguistic and cultural divide between the countries and backgrounds.


Lena’s Email Assignment Reflection

Lena Watson

English 100: Basic Writing

Email Assignment Reflection

September 24, 2019

Emailing with my partner in Lebanon so far has been a great experience. I feel like I’ve really gotten to know her in the short time we’ve been talking. We’ve been using different strategies to communicate. We used these different strategies so we can understand each other’s background and cultures. For example, I want her to see me as a nice person and someone she’d be interested in talking to. So, I used words like “excited, can’t wait to hear from you,” and “happy.” Therefore, I would try to emphasize words or statements to show her I’m excited to be working with her. For example, after, I would tell her “I can’t wait to hear from you soon!” We both also used exclamation points to show that both of us are excited to be talking.

As we talk back and forth, we like to talk about the differences in our communities. For example, I told her Indiana is very rural and small; she told me how Beirut has lots of traffic and many tall buildings that she doesn’t usually see in her village she comes from. We like to talk about college and the reasons we chose our majors. To introduce myself, I told her that my major was public health and that I chose it because it’s always been my dream to go overseas to help the children in third world countries get the help that people like us don’t have access to. She also told me that she chose nursing for the same reason. She loves the idea of dedicating oneself to others.

In addition, she has also showed me a different insight on the reading that I might not have interpreted on my own without her perspective. She had a better understanding of what the writer was trying to portray throughout the reading. For example, when I first emailed her about the reading, I said, “based on my understanding, Peterson and Aakerberg are arguing about how the language advanced through technology.” She answered saying, “I do think that technology has shaped language, and that a common language can cross the barriers of distance and is a major factor in increasing the rate of technology.” I never would’ve thought of interpreting the reading this way if she wouldn’t have explained how she thought of it.

In conclusion, emailing with my partner from Lebanon has been a great experience and has really helped me understand the Peterson and Aakerberg reading. I do think it made us both look at the reading in different ways, which helped us see what he was really trying to portray in the reading. After the assignment is over, I’d still love to talk to my email partner and get to know her better.

Below are examples of emails I sent to my partner:



Sample Assignment

Sample Assignment | How Do Writers Communicate Across Borders?

Overview: For this assignment, you will be paired with another first-year writing college student from American University of Beirut (AUB) in Lebanon. With your email partner, you will discuss an article that you will both have read. Then, you will each write a reflection paper.

Instruction: In-class activities will help you to learn the following skills that you will need to successfully engage in this project: email etiquette; negotiating meaning and sharing the communicative burden; and reflecting.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Develop audience awareness
  • Identify and explain effective writing strategies used by other writers
  • Identify and explain your own writing strategies and their effectiveness
  • Gain familiarity with arguably the most common workplace communication tool, email, which will aid you as a writer both within and beyond your academic career
  • Learn skills and attitudes for negotiating meaning and sharing the burden of communication

Part 1. Read the shared article (Due Week 2.2). You will read Petersen & Aakerberg’s article, which you will find on D2L. As you read, take notes, recording key passages and jotting down questions you have. We will discuss the reading in class. The reading is listed at the end of this assignment sheet and the course schedule.

Part 2. Email your partner (Due Week 3.1). In week 3, you will email your partner and discuss the article that you both read. Your first email should introduce yourself and try to establish rapport with your partner. Follow-up emails should take place between weeks 3-4 and focus on discussing the readings. Your email exchange must, at a minimum:

  • Include 5 emails total (at least)
  • Be approximately 250 words (the entire email exchange). You do not need to count the number of words. 250 words single spaced is about ½ page of text.
  • Follow the conventions of email writing
  • Focus on the assigned reading
  • Use appropriate tone and negotiation strategies to share the communicative burden

Part 3. Write a reflection essay (Draft Due Wk. 4.2, Final Due Wk. 5.2). 

You will write a reflection essay in response to this prompt: What writing strategies did you and your partner use in your emails and why? To answer this question, you should describe how you wanted to portray yourself to your partner and how you shaped your partner’s impression of you (specific words, phrases, etc.)? To what extent were your strategies effective? To what extent were your partner’s strategies effective?

In addition to responding to the prompt above, please choose one question from the list below to reflect on in your essay.

  1. What was it like to discuss the reading with someone from a different writing or cultural background? For example, what insights did you have about the reading that you may not have had without reading your partner’s perspective? What did you learn from your partner?
  2. What did you learn about email communication? What writing strategies make email effective? To what extent does email limit your writing choices?
  3. Consider a moment when you weren’t quite sure what your partner meant. Or, consider a time when your partner may have been unsure of your meaning (maybe they interpreted something you said differently than you intended, or maybe they asked for clarification).  How did you and your partner reach agreement about meaning? For example, how did you seek clarity on unfamiliar words, approaches, ideas, idioms, grammars, and perspectives? Include specific examples of words, approaches, ideas, idioms, etc. describe how you reached an understanding.

Your reflection essay that must, at a minimum:

  •   Be about 2-3 pages long double spaced and use Times New Roman 12-point font (double spaced).
  •   Identify the language and rhetorical choices and writing strategies you and your partner used and evaluate their effectiveness. Include examples to support your discussion.
  •   Engage with one of the other prompt questions. Your organization should be purposeful; do not respond to the prompt and then respond to the question, or simply hand in a list of answers to the questions.
  •   Be formatted as an essay (with paragraphs, topic sentences, evidence, and transitions), be clear and thoughtfully written, and be carefully revised.
  •   Include screenshots of your email exchange at the end of the essay (not included toward page count).

Format/Submission (Due Wk. 5): Please carefully follow the instructions below. Assignments that do not follow the instructions are a violation of the grading contract.

1)  To submit your reflection paper, you should submit a single document on D2L on Thursday, September 26 by 11:00am (Microsoft Word or Google Docs). Your reflection essay should appear first. Then, after your essay, you should include screenshots of your email correspondence. While I would like to see a screenshot of all your email correspondence at the end of the paper, you may also embed some screenshots throughout your reflection paper when you need to show an example of your email practices.

2)  Name your file using your last name, the assignment name, and the class title (ex: Smith Email Assignment English 100).

Rubric: As I read your assignment, I will consider the following: Are the audience and purpose clear? Does the essay grapple with the questions in the prompt? Is the quality of the writing well suited to the purpose? We talk in class about the assignment learning outcomes and co-construct a detailed rubric.

Resources and Readings: 

  • Petersen, C.S. & Aakerberg, M.C. (2018). Language and communication in the 21st century. In Pages Apart: A Reader for Academic Writing. Ward, et al. (Eds.). Beirut, Lebanon: Center for Educational Consultation and Research, pp. 103-110. (D2L)
  • Email Etiquette Handout (D2L)
  • Email Etiquette Video (D2L)
  • E-mails by Domics – a short video about tone in email

Ashley’s Email Assignment Reflection

Ashley Thompson

English 100: Basic Writing

Email Assignment Reflection

September 24, 2019

I remember first learning to write paragraphs, I believe, around first grade. It’s crazy how my writing skills have progressed through the years. I started by writing simple paragraphs about my summer vacations. Now, I will talk about articles and write seven page research papers and recently learned how to look at my rough draft and reflect on my writing. One of the hardest things I’ve had to do is reflect on my writing. I was used to looking at a peer’s work and giving them criticisms on their work. But now, it is almost like I am critiquing myself. Therefore, by doing this project, not only have I picked up valuable writing skills, but I also have learned how to communicate correctly with others through email.

During the process of writing to Farah, I found myself battling on how to write to her. During the different classes, I learned so many things that I didn’t know were or weren’t correct email etiquette. As Farah and I continued to converse, I attempted to put forth those skills I learned in class. I was trying to remember not to overuse exclamation points, because I definitely do. I used to see it as a way to express a strong emotion or excitement towards a certain topic. Never had I thought it could be seen as yelling. Another thing I tried to put forth in my email conversations was the use of a signature. Farah did not have a signature. I think that the use of a signature at the end gives your email more of a formal and more put together feel. But in the end, I believe both of our strategies are effective, since there has been no communication barrier or mishap. All communications were in a timely fashion. Normally when one would send an email the other would answer promptly and enthusiastically. 2

While writing these emails, I also saw myself using different vocabulary that I normally did not use. I do not know if it was a way to make myself seem more professional or perhaps just more intelligent. Though during our earlier communication, she was very sporadic with conversation. We went from asking about hobbies to majors to sports. However, these were the beginning conversations, a ‘get to know you’ time. As time progressed, our topics started to narrow, so now they are on the sole topic, the Petersen and Aakerberg reading.

When I first started talking to Farah, I will admit that I was worried about a possible language barrier or any cultural background that I did not know about. Not until later did I realize that maybe her growing up in another country could have affected English writing and reading skills, in the sense that it could have been taught differently than mine. Within the first few emails between each other, though, I realized that we are very similar. We even enjoy the same pastime, soccer. I even had assumed before starting the project that Lebanon was very different from the United States, but soon I found out that was far from the truth. That idea was further solidified during a conversation about the article in which we talked about the simple use of emojis and emoticons. Farah wrote, “Here in Lebanon we communicate a lot through texting as we also use abbreviations and icons as a form of expressing oneself and communicating.”

Below are examples of emails I sent to Farah, which demonstrate the concepts I discussed above:




Translingual and Multilingual Pedagogies

My teaching is informed by translingual pedagogies, which shape my teacher identity and teaching practices.

My work with diverse student populations has led me to reflect on my own translingual dispositions, or “attitudes, values, and ideologies” (Canagarajah, 2012, p. 31). As a teacher, I value openness, creativity, empathic listening, and cosmopolitanism, and these dispositions empower me as a teacher and allow me to empower students in my courses.

My experiences teaching in diverse settings have helped me to develop an open minded attitude toward language difference. By accepting my own Appalachian upbringing, I have been able to reframe my relationship with my linguistic heritage to be more accepting of my own dialects and heritages. This allows me to be open to students’ dialects and heritages and to help students to marshal their linguistic resources. Further, using a disposition of creativity, I question language ideologies that privilege norms/form over function/practice. Communication is effective when it achieves the intended function, and I support language users’ diverse ways of practicing language. Translingual dispositions help me to be a flexible and adaptable communicator and teacher, capable of shaping my language practices to meet the demands of the situation. Further, my view of language as a functional practices empowers me to help students to use language to achieve their aims.

Translingual practices also emerge in my teaching as I use a detached and invested mindset when approaching students’ texts and providing feedback. My goal when I read student writing is to take the text at face value and allow the text or writer to surprise me. This perspective allows me to approach student texts with an attitude of negotiation rather than authority, helping me to act as an invested reader of their work.

Student Evaluations

What My Students Are Saying

“Krista Sarraf is the best Professor I have had at Seton Hill thus far. She was very engaged and provided multiple home made video resources to encourage us in our weak areas of writing. It is apparent that she cares about student learning and development. I was very impressed by her timely response and engagement throughout the course. I hope all my future Professors are as passionate as her,” (Online Course).

“She seemed very interested in what her students had to say.”

“Very interested in students and their learning process. Gets to know students and gives feedback as much as possible to improve our writing.”

“Professor Sarraf provides us with assignments that will actually help us in real life situations.”

“Sarraf helped me to become a better writer. I know I’m going to need these skills.”

“The course has been fulfilling and has provided good experience and tools that will further develop my writing efforts in both collegiate and professional work.” (Online Course).

“The way she teaches connects reality with the lesson.”

“I’ve learned something through each activity and assignment.”

“Good pace, topics I will use the rest of college.”

“A great course that has helped me in my writing.”

“Professor Sarraf’s video and audio feedback are commendable, as they are an extra effort that allows the otherwise remote online student to feel more engaged with the instructor on a personal level.” (Online Course).

“She gives me a lot of feedback on my work and helps me really well on the stuff I’m struggling on.”

“Professor Sarraf always gave excellent feedback on assignments. It helped a lot moving forward in the class toward future assignments.”

“Instructor carries extremely positive energy.”

“I loved her overall passion for teaching. She cared for everyone equally.”

“She is very passionate about teaching, and she would do anything for us to succeed and understand material.”

“Her enthusiasm and ability to connect with students made this my favorite class.”

“I appreciate her ability to reformat the course as it goes to work the best for her students.” (Online Course).

“I like how Professor Sarraf is interested in the class she’s teaching. That energy can easily be reflected onto the students.”

“She is involved in the students’ writing processes.”

“Professor Sarraf assisted in time management by offering suggested timelines for completing steps in larger assignments.”

“I applaud Professor Sarraf for the choices in video links that explain some more mundane and confusing topics in fun and informative ways.” (Online Course).

“I enjoy the weekly update video and the positive motivation.” (Online Course).

“I love how she teaches. She makes everything understandable.”

“The first assignment emailing with another student in Lebanon was great.”

“Professor Sarraf was very helpful when asked questions. She always made sure that the class understood the assignment, explained things clearly, and graded fairly.”

“The instructor has done a great job at teaching and leading us students thus far in the semester. She is very good at uploading assignments to D2L and letting us know exactly when assignment are due. She also gives great feedback in a good amount of time.”

“I really liked the grading contract.”

“The four major assignments enhanced my writing skills each time.”

“She is always available to give advice.”

“She made the learning fun and interesting which made it easier to learn.”

“We are a very quiet class, so it may seem hard to get us to speak up and engage. Yet, you never fail to end up engaging us in the class. I also like how we can follow along with the slides you post in class. It helps to have the material.”


Teaching Philosophy

Teaching Philosophy

When I was 9 years old, my mother pulled my siblings and me out of school. Our farm became my classroom, but from my bedroom closet, I called my best friend to discuss our math textbook. I needed those phone calls. Not for competition, but for community. That need led to our homemade theater group, The Barn House Players. Weekly, we gathered on a corkboard-topped hay bale stage. Under the dusty barn light, we wrote scripts and built props from rusty cups and costume jewelry. Our patchwork community sustained my imagination, but I craved even more community. A visit to our homeschool evaluator, Mrs. McMillan, punctuated each year. The highlight for me—when Mrs. McMillan’s daughter and I exchanged reading lists. Perhaps now, the diversity of classroom cultures excites me because I so needed these conversations with other learners. As a teacher, I hope my students experience the freedom I enjoyed and the conversations I craved. In my classrooms, I find balance between self-sponsorship and intellectual community by foregrounding student voices, community-engaged and collaborative pedagogies, experimentation and situated-learning, translingual pedagogies and writing to communicate approaches, and an ecological model of writing assessment. 

Foregrounding Student Voices
My first day teaching (eight years ago) bewildered me. How would I, the homeschooled farmer, create the community I admired? Over time, I’ve found that community develops when I foreground student voices, asking my students to shape the syllabi and class culture. I apply decentered classroom practices (Shor, 1992) to direct student voices to take center stage. On day one, I ask students to critically examine institutional power. Students discuss questions like, “What is good writing?” “What is the role of feedback in a writing class?” and “What are the best and worst classes like?” Then, students co-create the syllabus: they add readings and activities, and they negotiate the learning environment down to the late work policy. I’ve responded to students by increasing in-class writing workshop time and adopting their friend/family feedback extra credit option, which rewards students who seek feedback from non-class members (in addition to in-class peer review). Foregrounding student voices means that each class reflects the diversity of students within it. 

Community-Engaged and Collaborative Pedagogies
Before pursuing my doctorate, I worked for small nonprofits, which cemented my interest in community-engaged pedagogies. Throughout my teaching career, I’ve looked to community-engaged pedagogies to partner students and retired adults to write life review stories; to join students and campus organizations to compose websites and brochures; and, most recently, to enlist a computer scientist to share workplace writing practices. Further, collaborative learning theorists like Bruffee (1993) incline me toward small groups; for instance, my Composition II students join “research teams” to support their writing processes. “Flexibility in Use,” a universal design principle, further guides me toward flexible group work. Groups use communal Google Documents to reduce overstimulation and facilitate reflection. Also, I offer students multiple participation entry points, from interactive learning technologies like Mentimeter and Kahoot! to verbal techniques like listening-pairs, in which students listen attentively to their partner before speaking. 

Experimentation and Situated-Learning
Experimentation and situated-learning are pillars of my classes. I draw on Lerner’s (2009) “writing laboratory” and Lave and Wenger’s (1991) “communities of practice,” which highlight participatory and situated-learning. My Basic Writing students bring outside writing to our “writing studios” for feedback, which allows them to connect our classroom learning to their non-classroom writing. Also, simulation-based learning lets my students act as marketing professionals to create digital memes. In my Business and Professional Writing classes, students work in teams to conduct social media audits for local businesses and write recommendation reports to share their team’s findings. Similarly, my Composition I students post public comments to the New York Times website in order to experience “authentic” sites for learning. I teach discursive practices so students can emulate skillful writers, and I emphasize students’ writerly identity formation. During Writing Marathons, students explore campus to experience how setting shapes writerly behaviors. This type of situated learning defines writers as those who write, and it challenges entrenched writing habits that may limit student growth.

Translingual Pedagogies and Writing to Communicate
I seek to prepare students to communicate across social, regional, economic, and language borders. Translingual pedagogies emphasize that students’ localizations and repertoires are assets for translanguaging, or communicating across borders. I combine translingual pedagogies with writing to communicate pedagogies from WAC/WID that emphasize addressing an audience beyond the self. For instance, my Basic Writing students email students from Lebanon to discuss global communication practices. My Composition I and II students and I teach each other words from our linguistic contexts, to explore and appreciate our varied heritages. I share my Appalachian heritage and tell the story of my father, who shuttled between our regional dialect for his sales and marketing work. Effective communication requires embracing our home literacies and adding to our linguistic arsenals.

An Ecological Model of Writing Assessment
Writing is a messy process involving discovery, curiosity, experimentation, and creativity. Mistakes are part of the process! However, students become cautious when they fear grades, which they may see as an assessment of their person. Therefore, I use Wardle and Roozen’s (2012) “ecological” model of writing assessment; I use grading contracts, portfolios, and holistic rubrics as often as institutionally possible. These techniques encourage student risk-taking, allow me to give students authentic feedback, and make space for student self-assessment and feedback from peers. Ecological writing assessment supports the student-directed and community-engaged learning that I so value as a teacher. 

In sum, these approaches help me to balance the tension between self-sponsored learning and collaboration. My students and I begin each semester anew, co-constructing our writing community, striving toward that space between un-schooled freedom and intellectual community.

Writing Center Pedagogy in the Composition Classroom?

I recently read Neal Lerner’s chapter on writing center pedagogy in A Guide to Composition Pedagogy. I’ve been involved with writing centers since I was an undergraduate tutor, and I’ve long loved the role that writing centers play in writers’ lives. Although I’ve at times wanted to incorporate writing center pedagogy into my composition course, I haven’t quite known how to.

In this post, I will share some of the key features that Lerner notes about writing center pedagogy. Then, I will imagine how these features could serve as the basis of a course designed like a writing center.

In his chapter, Lerner discusses several aspects of writing center pedagogy, and I’ve listed these aspects below:

  1. Asking questions
  2. Listening fully and carefully
  3. Responding as a reader
  4. Setting an agenda
  5. Negotiating goals
  6. Focusing on the development of the writer
  7. Allowing space for writers to control the session and their texts
  8. Using meta-language to talk about writing

Asking questions, listening fully and carefully, and responding as a reader speak to the conversational nature of writing center pedagogy. As Lerner (2014) writes, “At the heart of a writing center session is conversation about student writing” (p. 304). What if writing teachers designed the writing course so that conversation about student writing is at the heart of that course? The teacher’s role, then, would be to ask questions about their students’ writing, listen fully and carefully, and respond to students as readers. A writing center pedagogical approach to composition would model the writing classroom after a laboratory in which the central activities are hand-on practice, peer support, and teacher modelling and feedback.

In fact, Lerner writes in more detail about the writing laboratory concept in his text The Idea of a Writing Laboratory, a must-read for anyone interested in teaching writing as experimentation. There, Lerner maps the history of writing centers and their roots in laboratory methods. Essentially, because of the difficulties of teaching students to write, laboratory methods emerged as a solution that focused on hands-on practice and one-to-one conversation. By paralleling the history of teaching writing via laboratory methods and the history of teaching science via laboratory methods, Lerner interweaves these disciplines’ histories to highlight the idea of situated learning as central to learning to write. Lerner then presents an example of a writing laboratory in practice: a course called Laboratory Fundamentals of Biology Engineering at MIT. Lerner (2009) writes that “the notion of students as novice professionals learning to write and speak successfully in their chosen fields leads to the need for writing and speaking tasks that are grounded in the real world of those fields” (p. 165). Here, I’d like to suggest that The Idea of a Writing Laboratory can be interpreted as offering a ninth way to apply writing center pedagogy to the teaching of writing:

9. Working with situated writing tasks

If I were to model my composition class after writing center pedagogy, then, I would create a writing studio where the central text of the course is the writing that students are doing for other courses or on their own. I would allow space for writers to control the class sessions and their texts by running the class like a creative writing critique group, in which members of the course read and respond to each others’ writing. As the instructor, I would model for students the meta-language that allows us to talk about writing, such as how writers analyze their audiences and think about responding to their audiences. At the beginning of the critique group meeting, the writer would negotiate goals and set the agenda with the readers. The other students and teacher would respond as readers by asking questions, listening fully and carefully, and focusing on the development of the writer and the writing.

Such a course would be a radical move away from the design of the prior composition courses I’ve taught, but the design may also help to enact some of the best parts of writing center pedagogy by placing conversation about student writing at the center of the course.

However, such a course would not be without its challenges.

  • For one, how would the course ensure that students are composing in their other courses?
  • Should such a course design work closely with the writing across the curriculum program to integrate writing into courses?
  • Also, how would such a course leave room for direct instruction about writing?

I’m interested in readers’ thoughts, so please share in the comments!


Lerner, N. (2009). The Idea of a Writing Laboratory. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.

Lerner, N. (2014). Writing Center Pedagogy. In G. Tate, A.R. Taggart, K. Schick, & H.B. Hessler (Eds.), A Guide to Composition Pedagogy (pp. 301-316). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.