Writing Across the Curriculum professors lead workshop at Hamden High School

Bob Smart and Sue Hudd with teachers at Hamden High School
Bob Smart and Sue Hudd with teachers at Hamden High School

Oct. 24, 2010 - Bob Smart, professor and chair of English, and Sue Hudd, professor of sociology, presented "Assignment to Grading: Creating Prompts that Work" on Oct. 22, 2010, at Hamden High School.

The program gave high school teachers an opportunity to reflect on how they were giving students prompts and what steps could be taken to elicit excitement from students about writing assignments.

Although the QUWAC program has given presentations at several other universities since Smart founded it in 2001, the event marked the first time that it has partnered with a secondary school.

"It's always been part of our eventual mission as QUWAC to address the question of how students are prepared to come to college," said Smart, who serves as a co-chair of the program along with Hudd. "So if we can help teachers at the high school end address some of the preparation issues that we complain about on our end, then I think we're both better off in some ways. The students come in better prepared and the teachers, I think, are sort of invested differently in the success of their students."

Smart and Hudd said educators at both levels face similar challenges.

The presentation was part of a three-part series funded by a grant, which will continue in January when Smart and Hudd will discuss the concentric thinking model and the elaboration of thinking skills that students go through when learning and applying material. Depending on how the rest of the program at Hamden High goes, the two will look into expanding the program into other area high schools.

"I think a lot of faculty tend to see writing as something they have to do or have to assign," Hudd said. "The reality is that we treat writing as a means of understanding student thinking and helping them to sharpen their thinking, so we have always had this more cognitive approach to writing that really lends itself to all disciplines."