Faculty Define the Role of Writing in the Social Sciences of Agriculture
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Faculty members who teach writing-intensive courses in the social sciences of agriculture defined writing using four themes—writing in agriculture, characteristics of effective writers, teaching writing and writing factors. Writing, as described by faculty, is a window to the brain and helps students retain and transfer knowledge. Therefore, effective writers have an imagination, a dedication to communicating, an understanding of style, a framework for writing, an inquisitive mind, a motivation to write and a want to know more. To become critical thinkers and knowledge creators through writing, students should present and defend a topic to a variety of public audiences, write repetitively and receive rich, timely feedback. Additionally, implementing reading assignments in writing-intensive courses helps students understand the real-world application of writing as well as the language of their discipline. Writing instructors should spend more time, however, linking writing to learning at the beginning of class, explaining how writing can help students learn more about their disciplines and discussing how to transfer writing skills. More research needs to be conducted on each one of the writing factors to determine at what level they impact critical thinking and knowledge creation, if in fact they do at all.
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