Teaching the writing mind : cognitive approaches to composition
Lough, Rebecca Danielle.
Thesis (M.A.)--Georgetown University, 2010.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. In this project, I explore the literature on cognitive perspectives of writing. Drawing on the insights and research of Carl Bereiter and Marlene Scardamalia, Kathleen Blake Yancey and Linda Flower, among others, I chart a practical approach to teaching writing that makes students masters of their own learning, teaches them to use their writing for thinking, and is easily transferrable to a variety of writing situations. This approach holds that writers must be metacognitively reflective in order to undergo the process of knowledge transformation, which is a key to successful writing. I explore research from cognitive science, particularly that of Ronald T. Kellogg, to uncover how the transformation of knowledge takes place through writing. After explaining and expanding on the literature, I craft a number of writing assignments, based primarily on a blog, that may be used to teach reflective writing. I explain how the benefits of and reasoning behind reflective writing can be communicated to students in the form of lectures and class discussions, and how through specific, structured assignments students can come to witness the transformation of knowledge that can occur through metacognition. Finally, I explain how metacognition on the writing process promotes control, and how students can take advantage of this control to utilize specific cognitive strategies to improve their writing and to make the writing process less cognitively demanding. I develop a process for directing students to create working theories of their own habits of writing, enabling them to make direct, conscious use of these techniques.
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