Teaching with Student Texts

Essays Toward an Informed Practice

edited by Joseph Harris, John D. Miles, and Charles Paine

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"Teaching with Student Texts offers new perspectives, insights, and approaches to working with and thinking about student texts and representations of student writing. Equally important, it also opens new questions and opportunities for exploration about intersections and divergences among the ways that instructors work with student texts—in individual programs and across programs and institutions. It is a rich, useful, and provocative book."
—Linda Adler-Kassner, University of California, Santa Barbara, author of The Activist WPA, winner of the 2010 CWPA Best Book Award

"The new teacher enters the writing classroom, assignment in hand. What happens next? Teaching with Student Texts understands both the drama and the stakes of this moment, where so much depends on what role students are asked to play in the educational process. Prominent members of the field and new voices alike are represented in this compelling collection of essays, each showing how to make the student text the center of the writing classroom. The editors know that a quiet revolution is set in motion when the focus of instruction shifts from professional writing to student writing. Readers of this volume are invited to join in the work of teaching the arts of thoughtful engagement with the world and its challenges."
—Richard E. Miller, Rutgers University, author of Writing at the End of the World

"The idea that working with student writing defines what happens in composition classrooms may seem so axiomatic that it's hardly worth mentioning. But this is why Teaching with Student Texts is so valuable. It turns out, as the various contributors show, there is quite a bit to say about working with student writing—to give examples of how to do it, certainly, but as a way to explore what it means to value student writing as an intellectual practice and intellectual resource. This thoughtful attention to teaching with student texts is the book's platform, and, to my mind, its inquiries set a new standard of informed practice."
—John Trimbur, Emerson College, author of The Call to Write


Harris, Miles and Paine ask: What happens when the texts that students write become the focus of a writing course? In response, a distinguished group of scholars/teachers suggests that teaching with students texts is not simply a classroom technique, but a way of working with writing that defines composition as a field.

In Teaching with Student Texts, authors discuss ways of revaluing student writing as intellectual work, of circulating student texts in the classroom and beyond, and of changing our classroom practices by bringing student writings to the table. Together, these essays articulate a variety of ways that student texts can take a central place in classroom work and can, in the process, redefine the ways our field talks about writing.


Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture (pdf) Volume 12, Number 1 / Elizabeth Hatmaker


Joseph Harris is professor of English at the University of Delaware, where he teaches composition, creative nonfiction, and digital writing. Previously, he directed the first-year writing programs at the University of Pittsburgh and Duke University. His books from Utah State University Press are Teaching with Student Texts, A Teaching Subject, Rewriting, and The Work of Teaching Writing.


Charles Paine is an associate professor of English at the University of New Mexico, where he teaches first-year writing, professional writing, and the history of rhetoric. A member of the Executive Board of the Council of Writing Program Administrators, he has written The Resistant Writer (SUNY Press 1999) and a first-year writing textbook, Writing Today (Longman 2010). From 1998–2008, he served as director of UNM's core writing division.

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  • Paperback Price: $31.95
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-87421-785-8
  • Ebook Price: $26.95
  • 30-day ebook rental price: $5.99
  • EISBN: 978-0-87421-786-5
  • Publication Year: 2011
  • Pages: 280
  • Discount Type: Short
  • Author: edited by Joseph Harris, John D. Miles, and Charles Paine
  • ECommerce Code: 978-0-87421-785-8
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