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Introduction to Sequencing

posted: 10.6.10 by Barclay Barrios

This post is part one of a continuing series on building a course around the textbook Emerging. This series will continue through December.

Sequencing is a key feature of our pedagogy here at Florida Atlantic University. By sequencing, we mean that the assignments of the semester build on each other, often by developing a common theme. Thus, while the first paper focuses only on the first reading, subsequent assignments work with multiple readings, continually returning to previous essays.

We believe that using a sequenced approach to writing assignments emphasizes process-centered strategies for writing, since students return not only to their drafts but to the ideas and texts on which those drafts are based, encouraging them to revise not simply words but positions, ideas, and thinking.  Sequencing also shows students how ideas reverberate across readings and disciplines, providing them with a more complete model of how knowledge is created and circulated both inside and outside the academy.

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Categories: Basic Writing, Emerging, Teaching Advice, Writing Process
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2 Responses to “Introduction to Sequencing”

  1. April Lidinsky, IU South Bend Says:

    I use sequenced assignments far beyond the composition classroom, because of all the signifiant reasons you mention here, and more. Sequencing models the habits of mind that are essential not only to rigorous thinking but active citizenship, as people’s ideas build, change, and develop (we hope!) based on adding new concepts to old ones, and making connections that refresh and reframe those earlier thoughts. It’s only in the wacky world of “school” that it has become the norm to do an assignment, turn it in, and then forget it and begin afresh with something else. If we’re not teaching students to see connections between what they’ve written before and what they’ll write next, we are failing them.

  2. Barclay Barrios Says:

    April… I love that you connect sequencing to citizenship! I keep telling my students that the skills they build with critical thinking in our classroom will serve them well beyond school into their lives. But I find it a struggle to get students to see this relevance. They seem to have a hard time connecting the work we do in class to their lives outside of class. Do you have any particular strategies you use to get students to see those larger life connections? Or do you just help them develop skills knowing it will pay off in other areas of their lives?