Teaching Guides

Resources for Teachers of First-Year Writing Seminars | Knight Institute, Cornell University

Everything First-Year Writing Seminar instructors need to know as they prepare to teach writing at Cornell. This resource is revised each academic year with updated contacts and support information and sample semester schedules.

Facilitating Discussion: A Brief Guide by Katherine K. Gottschalk (PDF download)

A good discussion, of course, serves more than our own self-satisfaction. When students consider themselves to be participants, they learn more (even if coverage is less), and they take pride in what they learn. Discussion, because it helps students to become personally involved in their education, helps them toward important goals. Through discussion they may become not just ready receptacles for our wisdom but active participants in learning how, for instance, to evaluate a theory or synthesize approaches. They may develop new interests, figure out what they believe, or don’t believe, and, in general, gain confidence in their intellectual abilities. Far too often students do little questioning in our classes, and less tough thinking. Discussion can help them learn how to learn.

Guidelines for Developing Diagnostic Essays

We encourage First-Year Seminar instructors to develop a low-stakes diagnostic essay as the first assignment of the semester. Here, we provide some suggestions and guidelines to create an effective diagnostic essay. 

Bad Ideas About Writing by Cheryl E. Ball and Drew M. Loewe

Bad Ideas About Writing counters major myths about writing instruction. Inspired by the provocative science- and social-science-focused book This Idea Must Die and written for a general audience, the collection offers opinionated, research-based statements intended to spark debate and to offer a better way of teaching writing. Contributors, as scholars of rhetoric and composition, provide a snapshot of and antidotes to major myths in writing instruction. This collection is published in whole by the Digital Publishing Institute at WVU Libraries and in part by Inside Higher Ed. Follow link to a downloadable PDF of the book.