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Reflection in Writing: Double-Entry Notebooks and Writing to Learn/Cover Letters and Writing to Persuade

This workshop will argue for the centrality of writing to reflecting on learning or, in other words, writing to learn. It will demonstrate Ann Berthoff's method of using a "double-entry notebook" for thinking about one's own thinking, as well as using interpretive paraphrase to help students make their reading meaningfully connected to their learning. Next, the session will switch gears and provide examples of students' cover letters (also called writers' "memos or authors" notes) as a method of both reflecting on learning and persuading audiences of that learning. In every course the presenter teaches and with every graduate student she advises, she insists that writers attach a cover letter to their drafts, no matter what the stage of writing. The cover letters accomplish several teaching goals: They help writers actually see in different ways what they have in fact produced, where the writing works, and where the writing falters; cover letters also provide an opportunity for writers to make the case for their argument, to point out strengths, to see gaps in evidence, to make connections, or simply to ask readers specific questions. Both reflective methods presented in the workshop help writers claim authority over the texts they read and the texts they write.

Presented by Katharine J. Ronald, English, and Director of the Howe Center for Writing Excellence

Kate Ronald has received teaching awards from Miami's Farmer School of Business, the Graduate School, and the College of Arts and Sciences. She teaches first-year composition, histories of rhetoric, and writing center theory and practice.

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