Learning Goals for Writers at Bates

Faculty who teach First-Year Seminars and W2 courses, in consultation with the First-Year Seminar and Writing Committee and with the Director of Writing, have agreed on overarching pedagogical principles for writing-attentive courses, as well as learning goals for writers across their four years at Bates.  Below is the full list of skills we intend for Bates students to have facility with by the time they complete the senior thesis, arranged in categories of Inquiry, Argument, Evidence, Research Skills, Organization, and Style and Conventions.

  1. Learn what kinds of questions scholars ask
  2. Craft questions worthy of inquiry
  3. Respond to texts critically and thoughtfully
  4. Identify an audience for an assignment
  5. Understand that purpose and audience will shape the way they present their ideas
  6. Ultimately, recognize that writing, thinking, and research are ongoing processes and become accustomed to rethinking and deepening their ideas
  1. Recognize when argument is the appropriate mode for a particular writing project
  2. Think about the ongoing conversation their work is entering—and the way in which they enter the conversation
  3. Develop a question or position, articulated as a thesis statement or guiding idea
  4. Learn how to use evidence to advance an argument
  1. Read and evaluate sources critically to understand a text’s argument and to formulate their own position about that argument
  2. Understand the different types of evidence recognized as authoritative by various disciplines
  3. Choose appropriate sources to support their own arguments
  4. Understand the value of fairly presenting an opposing viewpoint
  5. Acknowledge and articulate the limitations of evidence
Research Skills
  1. Learn how to use their time efficiently while researching
  2. Be able to mine sources for further evidence
  3. Have a command of larger research horizons (interlibrary loan or field research, for example)
  1. Understand that thinking must be organized in order to communicate effectively with an audience
  2. Be able to identify different organizational patterns, recognize the way in which their choice of organizational pattern is informed by purpose and audience, and draw upon these patterns as models for their writing
  3. Understand the ways in which various components of organization (such as introductions, conclusions, paragraphs, transitions, and disciplinary-specific sections) guide the reader and strengthen an argument
Style and Conventions
  1. Appreciate the careful crafting of language
  2. Understand that different disciplines have different stylistic conventions and understand the rationale behind the different conventions
  3. Be aware of their audience’s disciplinary expectations (diction, style, citations, etc.)
  4. Understand proper ways to reference and acknowledge others’ work
  5. Become more facile with concision, fluency, and variety of sentence structure
  6. Acquire self-editing skills that improve writing’s clarity
  7. Understand the most common conventions of grammar and style