Student Motivation

By  Morgan Wentz, Intern with the IWP, First-Year College Student

As a first year student with my freshman year coming to an end, I have realized that being motivated is an important factor when it comes to being successful as a student at this university. For me, motivation is driven by more than the grade I will receive for my work. I want to produce the best work I possibly can and be satisfied that I did all I could do for that class and assignment. I haven’t always applied myself like this though. Before coming to college I didn’t have the urge to push myself. I always did what I had to do to get the assignment completed. I was a good student but I procrastinated often and put little thought into assignments, I just got them done. The reason that it changed when I got to the university level was because I was aware that I chose to be here. Yes, my parents always pushed me to do my best and not going to college was rarely discussed but I know that getting this education is on my time.

I am here to be an active participant in my education. Continue reading

Crafting Writers: A Discussion of Technology in the Writing Classroom

By Rachel Stevens, IWP intern, RTW MA & TESL Certificate Student

I am not a writer.

This is what I have been telling myself for years, through one English degree and then another, through teaching and tutoring others about how to write. I have identified as a teacher, an editor, a freelancer, a blogger, and a lover of words, but one thought has stubbornly remained:

I am not a writer.

Stubbornness notwithstanding, my time interning with the IWP and teaching my writing students has made me question my own resolve to maintain a non-writer identity.  How can I expect my students to believe me when I say that we are all writers if I stand rather hypocritically outside the writer’s circle? The simple answer is that I cannot. And so, after two years of exploring writers’ identities, a year of teaching composition, and a semester of addressing student writer needs across disciplines with the IWP, the time has come for me to finally acknowledge that I am a writer

Continue reading

Rosche’s Reflection: My Experience Blogging for IWP

By Laura Rosche,  IWP Intern, RTW MA Student

As I reflect upon the process of blogging for the Interdisciplinary Writing Program, I realize that I have had the opportunity to rethink my identity as a teacher. I’ve found research with which I strongly agree that has reshaped my personal pedagogy. I suppose, lamely, I hadn’t given much thought to my teaching philosophy before I took the job teaching English 105 at NAU. I hadn’t taught before; I didn’t go to school for teaching; and I was naïve enough to believe that my because I knew how to write, I would know how to teach writing.

I have particularly appreciated the support I have found in favor of the blend of traditional and alternative assessment strategies. Though the letter grades students receive are important because of their implication in the greater academic context, I have been able to communicate with my students the importance of feedback over the importance of grades. Continue reading

The Program Assistant Attends L.A. Hacks

by Christopher Harnois, IWP Program Assistant

So, you might be wondering, where does a writing program like mine, Northern Arizona University’s Interdisciplinary Writing Program (IWP), have a role in a computer programming conference? I set out to discover where the IWP’s four pillars of research, design, presentation, and writing play a role in software development, and where those four skills are integral. Besides that, I aimed to break through traditional boundaries set by disciplinary expectations, and I uncovered that even English majors can play a role in the world of tech. Continue reading

Teaching Discipline-Specific Writing: Resources and Advice

By Laura Rosche,  IWP Intern, RTW MA Student

The best piece of teaching advice I ever heard with regards to composition was simple.

In his article, “Ranking, Evaluating, and Liking: Sorting out Three Forms of Judgment,” Peter Elbow, a professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, writes, “Good writing teachers like student writing” (200).

It seems so obvious to me in retrospect. I am a better teacher when I am enjoying my students’ writing because I feel more capable of being constructive rather than critical. Continue reading

Embracing International Identities

By Laura Rosche, IWP Intern, RTW MA Student

Last year, I had the incredible opportunity to teach a course called English 100, a class that’s designed in favor of one-on-one student writing instruction. For two hours every week, I worked closely with Jiang, a graduating Senior from Beijing. At first, we talked about school. He was in a poetry class and needed help writing in English the feelings that came so quickly to him in Chinese. He would get frustrated because he didn’t have the right words, but he did have the ideas. Continue reading