ENWR 380 Studio Sessions


 

Once a week, each instructor leads a small group of students in a two-hour workshop.
 
There are two central goals for any studio session:

1. For students to hear what others think of their writing, and

2. For students to learn how to analyze one another's writing.

Learning to articulate responses to someone else's writing helps students to improve their own writing, but it is also a valuable skill in itself; at some point in every profession, most people find themselves responsible for someone else's writing.
 
In order to accomplish these goals, instructors must insist on several ground rules for workshops:

* Students must turn in writing every week in advance of the studio session. Early submission allows students to read one another's work and be ready to respond to it during the workshop. (See early submission of student writing)
 
* Students must take over the job of responding to each other's work. The instructor only nudges things along, and perhaps in an opening session models possible responses. (See "How to Run a Workshop" for more ideas.)
 
* Students must use the language of LRS. There's nothing magical about the vocabulary itself, but it forces students to move beyond impressionistic responses ("this paragraph flows well" or "this sentence is awkward") and refer to what's happening on the page.
 
* Students must confine their comments to the features on the page. That is, conversations about what a writer should have done or might have done are best avoided, as they aren't of much benefit to the writer. Instead, writer needs to hear how readers responded to what he or she actually wrote.
 

Workshop sessions should also include a brief summary of the previous lecture. This, too, should be largely the students' responsibility. Some instructors ask students to sign up in advance to lead (usually with a partner) a class review and exercises for a particular lecture, others notify a pair of students immediately following the lecture that they will lead the review session.

*** Instructors are not responsible for teaching any LRS material that is not covered in the lecture. Instructors should, obviously, read and review the entire chapter and be ready to answer any student questions, but they need not (and ought not) spend time in the workshop section introducing nuances or variations on the principle.