Our Guides on Pedagogical Practices

The Writing Center aims to support effective teaching of writing, reading, and public speaking at Amherst College. While writing associates are available for individual and small-group consultations, we have also developed materials to support pedadogical development. We welcome feedback on these guides and suggestions for new topics to address at writing@amherst.edu

Additional Resources

Additionally, we recommend the following resources, developed at other institutions, which we have found useful in our own professional development. 

  • WAC (Writing-Across-the-Curriculum) Clearinghouse Teaching Guides are designed for writing teachers and for teachers of other subjects who want to use writing and speaking activities in their classrooms. The guides are practical and succinct.
  • Responding to Student Writing, from the Harvard Writing Project, offers a structured approach for commenting on students' papers to improve student learning.  See also the right-side menu for related pedagogical topics. 

  • Richard Haswell's 1983 article, "Minimal Marking," describes a marking method that efficiently addresses errors, provides students a chance to self-correct. This method allows faculty to focus on substance, argument, and other higher-level concerns in their comments without ignoring (or overemphasizing) surface errors. (College English 45.6 (1983), p. 600-604).
    • See also this Elon University Center for Teaching and Learning handout on Minimal Marking.

Teaching Writing in an Online Classroom

As you consider how to teach and respond to writing in a digital classroom, here are a few resources to guide you:

  • Emergency Remote Writing Instruction, a simple infographic of advice and perspective on the current moment, by Kory Lawson Ching (Associate Director, Online Writing Instruction, UC Davis).
  • Personal, Accessible, Responsive, Strategic: Resources and Strategies for Online Writing Instructors, an open-access e-book by Jessie Borgman and Casey McArdle, provides a deeper-dive into online writing pedagogy. Though the book was not written for the current moment, their chapter on responsiveness (chapter 3) gives concrete suggestions for engaging with student writing and organizing your time doing so.
  • Teaching Online Write Now (University of Arizona) provides a large set of examples and assignment demonstrations for online writing assignments
  • Teaching with Compassion and Focus (Susanmarie Harrington, Director of the University of Vermont’s Writing in the Disciplines Program) is a live, crowdsourced list of resources mostly focused on writing instruction across disciplines. 
  • Sara Webb-Sunderhaus (University of Miami of Ohio Writing Program) shares wisdom from experience teaching writing in online environments via Twitter.

For a wide-ranging list of resources about teaching during COVID-19 please see Teaching and Learning During COVID-19 and Disciplinary-based and Pedagogical Resources for Teaching Remotely during COVID-19.