Participating in a group that included instructors from Nursing, Computer Science, Economics, History and Humanities was a unique opportunity. The varied nature of writing in our specific disciplines, our different course objectives and pedagogical methods allowed us to learn from each other in some very unexpected ways.
As I started to work through the readings and exchange with the other Writing Fellows, I realised that teaching in design was more aligned with the goals of the WID initiative than I would have thought. The studio environment unique to the design disciplines promotes dialogue, exchange, teamwork, peer review, draft and revision, and scaffolding by its very nature. We work in small groups over long hours and are privileged to be able to provide one-on-one mentoring. Our use of sketch as a tool for learning and critical thinking is identical to the WID approach to writing. It only takes some creativity on the part of the instructor to integrate writing into course content – anyone can if they make the effort.
It’s easy to assume that someone else is responsible for student writing skills, but I believe that teaching writing is the duty of any educator in any discipline. Looking back on the experience, I can say that promoting writing as a tool for learning never compromised the other goals of my course content. Doing so has allowed me to broaden the education I’m offering my students, preparing them more thoroughly for their chosen career.
Thank you to all of the Writing Fellows for their enthusiasm and participation, and to Ian MacKenzie for his patience, guidance and encouragement.