Faculty Writing Reviews Teaching Writing

“Naming What We Know About Writing” by Barbara Fister

Barbara Fister reviews Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies, edited by Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle, in light of new threshold concepts that reframe the way we think about what we know.  Fister also writes to warn against the undue haste she believes some librarians have with this new Framework.  Instead of checklists and learning skills, she would have librarians and faculty think about sharing these Framework ideas in full, fleshed out form.  Foster recommends this collection of essays to librarians and those across the disciplines.

Most interesting for WI course faculty is the focus of the book Fister reviews.  Adler-Kassner and Wardle’s collection of essays “addresses two questions: ‘what do we know about writing?’ and ‘how can what we know inform curricula and assessment of student writing?'” The editors assert that the ideas and concepts shared there are not a final, authoritative list, but rather, help ‘”us name what we know and how we can use what we know in the service of writing.'”  Further, the second half of the book speaks to many interests of writing scholars, such as “using threshold concepts in first year writing courses…a chapter on assessment, and on training writing center tutors…on using these concepts in faculty development and a concluding chapter on Writing Across the Curriculum.” Fister acknowledges that writing scholars are much like librarians, and it is important to consider how they help other faculty teach writing.  She makes a strong argument that this book is important in a campus-wide conversation about knowledge and writing, as well as the role librarians and writing scholars play in supporting other faculty.

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