Book Review: The Instructor's
Complete Desk Reference for WR
By Melinda Kreth
Rebecca Moore, and Sandra Jamieson. The Bedford Guide to Teaching Writing
in the Disciplines: An Instructor's Desk Reference. Boston: St. Martin's,
1995. 274 pages. $13.00.
This “desk reference” is one of the most comprehensive, concise, and well-organized resources for teachers I’ve seen, full of practical suggestions on a variety of topics of interest to WR faculty, such as
assignment design and sequencing
evaluating / grading student writing (including essay exams, journals, and collaborative writing)
lab-, field-, and library-based research papers
advanced reading skills
style, grammar and punctuation
Each chapter is followed by an extensive bibliography, and an even more extensive bibliography of sources related to discipline-specific writing is included in the book’s Appendix A. This bibliography includes many pedagogical articles and studies of rhetoric in 27 disciplines.
Perhaps most useful are the book’s numerous samples (at least 90 by my count) of everything from syllabi and assignments, to guidelines for student revision and responses to student writing. In the margins next to each sample, the authors provide a clear explanation of the sample and its purpose. Faculty from a number of disciplines from several universities contributed the samples, all of which are conveniently listed by discipline in the book’s Appendix B.
The book’s title may seem to contradict my claim in the previous issue of WRite Away! that you don’t have to teach writing to teach course content through writing. My claim, however, applied to the more general “writing-to-learn” philosophy of writing across the curriculum (WAC), an approach that can help students in any discipline to learn course content. But the primary emphasis of Howard and Jamieson is on the “learning-to-write” philosophy of writing in the disciplines (WID). Actually, the authors use the phrase "writing in the disciplines" to refer to both WAC and WID philosophies.
Call the bookstore right away and order
a copy of The Bedford Guide to Teaching Writing in the Disciplines.
In fact, if your department uses teaching assistants to help manage the
paper load, then order copies for them, too. Many departments have limited
time to adequately train TAs in the important task of responding to and
evaluating student writing, and this book just might help fill an unnecessarily
large gap in their professional development.
Click here to return to WR Resources.