- Academic Research and Writing Tips / Tutorial

Traits for Writing Across the Curriculum

What does it mean to say, "Writing across curriculum"? This means to write using more than one subject such as math, reading, social studies, and science. Many instructors want to see how students think on more than one issue. Instructors want their students to analyze and criticize what they read. One way to do this is to assign students writing assignments that include their viewpoints on how the article could be used in more than one subject. For example if the article discussed a social issue, the instructor might ask students how the social issue affects economics or how the article affects different social issues. The purpose of writing across curriculum is to get students to view what they read in more than one way or to get them to use higher levels of thinking while reading.

Curriculum Writer

Instructors want to challenge students to analyze and process what they read. Writing is one way to do this. Most students do not read actively. Reading actively means looking at all the visuals, headings, and all the text. It means considering where and when the article was written and what people thought about the subject at that time and what they think now. They consider what the context means and considers how it affects people in more than one way. When a student reads actively, he/she reads productively, efficiently, and in analytically. One way to get students to read this way is to teach them to ask questions about an article looking at what they read in more than one way.

Here are some questions that might be asked:

- What do I know about this author?

- What is this author saying?

- Why is he/she writing on this subject? What other subjects does the article discuss?

- What does the student think about the article? Why?

- What are the key points in the article? How does this affect society? How can the student take the key points and use them in their lives? Can they use the key points in different topics?

- How does it compare, contrast, or connect in some other way with other articles that the student has read?

The student then writes an article discussing how what he/she has read can be applied to different subjects. In preparing an essay written across the curriculum the student would answer the questions and even more to determine how the key points affect different subjects. Many educational professors will assign reading a text and asking the student to write across the curriculum. How can they use the information obtained in their future in the classroom?

Some ways students may write about the text and analyze it is to look at the purpose of the article, think about the audience, and then look at how different issues can be used with different subjects. Questions such as those used above can be used in analyzing and criticizing the article. Can the key points be used to inform, persuade, define, argue, expose, or classify? Can these be used in more than one subject? In the essay tell how these main points can be used. Describe different methods of using the article. What strategies can be used to teach others what you have learned? Be specific and state how this will broaden the field of education.

Remember that any essay that is written should always be proofread and rewritten. Writing across the curriculum is using the knowledge about one topic in other subjects. Many articles often have key points that can be used in other fields of knowledge.