I see writing as a key aspect of a liberal-arts education, and I have included explicit instruction in writing as a part of my literature classes from my earliest days in the classroom. Formal analytical papers are a chance to help students wrestle with the course’s or a text’s main problems, while helping to improve their writing skills (a key transferable skill of a liberal-arts education!).
First and foremost, I seek to teach students that writing is a process, a way of working with and synthesizing information, rather than a one-time event.
feature detailed, explicit prompts
undergo peer review and/or a draft process
receive detailed feedback focused on improving writing skills, featuring both holistic feedback and a detailed rubric.
Short, low-stakes assignments, geared toward structuring in-class discussion, include first-reaction written responses, discussion posts answering a guided topic, or requests to find and pot a particular kind of information.