Part 5: Writing Efficiently, Effectively, and Energizingly

Introduction to Part 5

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Part 5 argues for writing about learning and teaching in efficient, effective, and energizing ways that strike a balance between working within established structures and expectations for writing and pushing beyond these structures and expectations.

Discussion Questions

  1. Is your approach efficient and effective in preparing you to engage in conversation with particular learning and teaching communities?
  2. Does your approach capture your commitments as a writer and convey them to others in a way that is efficient, effective, and energizing for you?
  3. Does your approach allow you to address in an efficient, effective, and energizing way what matters to you about writing?
  4. In what ways does your approach allow you to engage in writing to learn in a way that is efficient, effective, and energizing?
  5. Is your overall approach “active and energizing” (Sword 2017a, 206)?

Chapter 23: Allotting Time and Choosing Space to Write

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Because time and space are dimensions of reality in which we all live, yet we each experience different kinds and degrees of control over them, this chapter poses a series of questions that will help you discern which time frames, spaces, and habits work best for you as a writer.

Discussion Questions

  1. What do you know about yourself as a writer? Are you, by nature, a morning, afternoon, or evening person? What is the ideal stretch of time for you to get substantive writing done?
  2. How does who you are as a writer intersect with your life, and how you keep track of your writing?
  3. How can you make steady progress week by week?
  4. What qualities of space do you need for writing, and what is or could be in your writing space?

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Chapter 24: Writing and Rewriting Your Draft

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Chapter 24 offers some general recommendations for drafting texts about learning and teaching that should apply across all genres. After discussing the importance of clearly articulating your argument, this chapter lists questions you might ask yourself as you draft each genre.

Discussion Questions

  1. How might you use structures, guiding questions, outlines, and dialogue with critical friends to help ensure that you clarify and embrace your values as a writer and use the drafting process to learn?
  2. With which expectations are you already familiar in any given genre, and with which do you need to familiarize yourself?
  3. What structures or questions might be most useful to you in your drafting process?
  4. At what points in the drafting process might you use outlining and why?
  5. In what order might you fill in different sections of the texts and why?
  6. Which of your critical friends might you consult at different stages of drafting and why?
  7. At what point do you feel your texts are ready for submission?

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Chapter 25: Becoming an Engaging Writer

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Chapter 25 focuses on writing that is clear, has a strong voice, and is stylish. This chapter also includes examples of such writing.

Discussion Questions

  1. Is your writing clear? Have you selected precise, accurate, clear, accessible words and arranged them in an order that conveys your intended meaning?
  2. Is the voice you have constructed for your writing true to your identity? Does it seek to connect with readers who share dimensions of your identity as well as those who may have different identities?
  3. Does your writing achieve the six ideals—communication, craft, creativity, concreteness, choice, and courage—as well as rigor, insight, imagination, and largeness of vision?

Chapter 26: Seeking Networks, Critical Friends, and Feedback

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Chapter 26 explores different ways to establish a group of critical friends and describes how to encourage them to give supportive but also constructively critical feedback.

Discussion Questions

  1. Whom among your professional network do you respect and trust to act as critical friends? Which of these people could you approach to comment on drafts of your writing?
  2. Which of your critical friends might you consider co-authoring with?
  3. How do you give developmental feedback to colleagues, and how can you encourage them to do the same for you?

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