Instructional Approach

The goals of SSW are common to college composition – that students will develop rhetorical knowledge of audience, purpose, and genres; strategies for critical reading, planning and revising; and the motivational beliefs that support continued critical reading and writing in the future. In short, the goal is for students to take control of the writing process and their own learning. The SSW approach integrates research on basic writing and composition with research on self-regulated strategy instruction in writing and reading.

Three core elements are important to the success of the approach.

  • First, students learn genre-based strategies for reading and writing. The strategies use knowledge about the rhetorical purposes, text structures, and linguistic features of genres (e.g., argument, causal explanation) to guide planning and revising, as well as critical reading and note-taking.
  • Second, and equally important, students learn metacognitive, self-regulation strategies for goal-setting, task management, progress monitoring, and reflection.
  • Third, pedagogical methods, based on extensive research on strategy instruction, include discussion of model essays, think-aloud modeling of strategies, collaborative writing, peer review and self-evaluation, and reflective journaling.
  • In addition to these core elements, we encourage a thematic approach to selection of readings so that students develop knowledge of an important topic or issue over time.