Teaching Critical Writing in the World Theatre Course: WAC Pedagogy and the Scaffolded Research Paper
A common issue that theatre professors may struggle with is balancing course content with significant writing requirements. How do we make our students better writers and critical thinkers while maintaining time for course content? Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) pedagogy and practices, such as scaffolded writing, teaching collaboration, and peer review, offer a student-centered model for addressing this issue and facilitate student academic success. In this paper, we offer an example of a scaffolded approach to the research paper assignment designed for our World Theatre courses at City University of New York–Hunter College. We first discuss WAC pedagogy and practices as implemented in other fields and their research findings. We then lay out the scaffolding design of our research paper assignment and explain the various exercises and activities we implemented throughout the semester. Next, we discuss three different case studies to exhibit the usefulness of scaffolded design for three unique student types, before turning our attention to the benefits of the scaffolded process. We conclude by describing our assessment tools and the rationale behind these grading methods, along with reflections on the process as well as recommendations for its implementation in other courses.
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