Writing about Writing and Metacognition

UCF Students (Re)Defining Writing

An Investigation of Writing about Writing, Metacognition, and Student Mental Models for Defining Writing

Introduction

This narrative visualization addresses the complexity of writing, and its dependency on contextual and audience specificity, and the ways in which writing about writing (WAW) may or may not lead students to a deeper and more complete understanding of what writing is and how it works. Student mental models for defining writing tend to be narrow and simplistic, yet the mental models necessary to define writing accurately are much more complex and expansive.

Research Questions that Frame this Narrative Visualization: How does a metacognitive approach to teaching composition alter the ways students define and redefine writing? How does a writing about writing (WAW) curriculum reshape how students understand writing and the mental models they use to understand writing?

Audience: The audiences for my narrative visualization are writing students, parents, and writing instructors. Writing instructors and teachers of writing serve more as a background and facilitating audience since the primary beneficiaries of this information are students and individuals that have little knowledge about the discipline of writing studies. The teachers are potentially asking students, parents, and other teachers to use the visual with a didactic or pedagogical motive because students tend to view writing as hard. They believe some people are more inclined or predisposed to write well, and they fail to understand revision and writing is a process that takes time.

Data Sources I obtained my data for this narrative and visualization from the Composition Program in the Writing and Rhetoric Department at UCF. The survey was given in August of 2014 and then again in December of 2014 to students at UCF taking Composition I. The survey was administered using survey monkey. Students were asked to define writing before they began a Writing about Writing composition course and then again after they completed the WAW course. There were 843 student responses for the end of the semester survey, and there were 847 student responses for the beginning of the semester survey.

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