Writing to think

After being merged with GSU, GPC (now PC) faculty got an email offering us $2,000 to convert one of our courses to a “writing intensive course”, part of Georgia State’s Writing Across the Curriculum program.  Willing to do anything ethical for cash, emboldened by the lowering of entropy in my life over the past year and eager to take advantage of a benefit of aforementioned merger, I accepted. Well, I applied and they accepted me.

In the past I have included plenty of writing in my courses, with the firm belief that what they know doesn’t matter if they can’t communicate it in a complete sentence that is appropriate for their audience.  Not that I thought it wouldn’t be any work, but this didn’t look to be all that different from what I have already done.

Then I read the required reading (uh oh) for the mandatory conference this week, and uh, it turns out that I don’t teach students how to think by writing at. all.   I have focused on the finished product for so long that I lost sight of the fact that I myself use writing to develop thoughts.  Ugh, such a boring post, but kind of an important development in my head: figure out how to show my students to use writing to think critically.

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About SubOptimist

I am an Associate Professor in the Science Department at Georgia Perimeter College, Clarkston. I teach introductory biology courses at both the majors and non-majors level in addition to microbiology. Previous to that I spent 7 years as a postdoctoral researcher on different viruses. While I don't miss being on the "grant treadmill", I think better when I write and miss writing up data for papers and grants; this blog helps me with that a little. And sometimes my kids' insanely funny and cute antics need to be shared with the world. Any view expressed in this blog is that of me personally and not Georgia Perimeter College or the GPC Clarkston Science Department.
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2 Responses to Writing to think

  1. Cecilia says:

    I’m a humanities person not a science person and in a very different education system, but perhaps rather than seeing writing as a “way to think critically” also using writing as a product to show that they can think critically. It’s a symbiotic process. Writing clarifies thinking and that in turn pushes critical thinking. I’m not sure that where the starting point of critical thinking is is important. I’ve only just come across your blog recently, but I really appreciate your wish to have students think clearly, precisely and analytically. I am sure you will find a way to keep doing this.

    • SubOptimist says:

      Thanks Cecilia! I don’t think my desire to have students think clearly, precisely and analytically is different from any other teacher really… I doubt there is a single one out there that would disgaree with that desire. Where there might be disagreements is probably in what assumptions are made about whether the students are or are not critical thinking and what the teacher’s responsibility is.

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