Wednesday, August 30, 2006

9 teaching: briefly, on quality control

Back in June, Iris wrote about her experiences reading sophomore writing portfolios. She says:

So far, after reading only a couple of portfolios, I've learned that:
  • underclassmen don't understand citation, but that they can do it if guided
  • they are happy to use outside sources, but the sources control the writer rather than the other way around
  • that they think of "fact" and "interpretation" as much more distinct categories than they really are...

I'm concerned about that second one, most. I've seen that happen to me. Once you recognize it, you can control the tendency. Teaching students how not to be so controlled is hard -- there's so much available information, that [it seems] almost as easy as stopping wherever you happen to land with a search, looking around, and grabbing what you need from that pile and forcing it to work for you.

Note to self: remember to stress this with your classes -- you control the search, not the other way around. You control the info you use; don't let the info you happen to find use you to spread without good reason.

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