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About the Teaching Guide

The Teaching Guide provides an overview of pedagogical practices and strategies for teachers of writing, rhetoric, and oral communication.

Guide Contents

Teaching PWR Assignments

Many PWR instructors find it useful to learn how their peers scaffold and frame some of our program's unique assignments. These pages include some in-depth example activities and scaffolding assignments for PWR 1 and 2.

Establishing an Effective Teaching Persona

Every instructor takes on a particular persona when they teach. This page investigates the ways that you can consider how you want to develop your own teaching persona.

Planning Class Activities

Planning a class session ahead of time is vital to ensuring that the class activities fulfill the class learning goals. This series of pages helps you consider how to design daily lesson plans and prepare for key moments during the quarter, such as the first and last days of class.

Developing a Class Community

Forming a class community can help build productive bonds between students and instructors. Learn more about how you can build community in your class.

Engaging Students

How do you keep students engaged in a class session? Check out some of the tips we gathered from Stanford students about what strategies they appreciate their instructors using to build class engagement.

Facilitating Discussion

Discussion is a common way for students to understand and work through course content, but it is not always easy to get students into conversation with each other. Here are some tips for facilitating productive discussion among your students.

PWR Evaluation Criteria

By distributing these criteria in class and including them in discussions of grading and evaluation, instructors can help maintain consistent evaluation standards among and within PWR sections.

Using Student Samples

Examples of past student essays or presentations can help students understand the genres that they are producing for your class. These pages include some advice on using student samples in class and include some curated archives of exemplary past student work in PWR classes.

Facilitating Effective Peer Review Sessions

Peer review is a powerful way for students to get feedback from each other on their writing and presentations. These pages include tips on how to help the peer review experience be even more engaging and productive for your students.

Teaching Style

Style and form can be challenging to teach in a PWR class. These pages offer advice on how to teach style in student-centered ways.

Addressing Grammar and Correctness

PWR classes tend not to focus on grammar lessons, but it is often important to address grammar and sentence correctness at some point during the quarter. These pages offer advice on how grammar might be discussed with students.

Meeting with Students

Conferencing is a central component of teaching a PWR class. Learn more about ways to facilitate effective meetings with students throughout the quarter.

Teaching Research

PWR 1 and PWR 2 classes (in collaboration with the library) teach first and second-year students research strategies that provide an introduction to important research practices that they will likely use in their coursework at Stanford and then in future academic and professional work.

Responding to Student Drafts

It is important for students to receive feedback on their writing before they receive a final grade, so that they have an opportunity to revise and improve their work. These pages offer some advice on how to respond to student drafts before the final submission.

Evaluating Final Revised Work

Grading and evaluation can be a tremendous challenge. Learn more about some strategies for evaluating students' final, revised work.

Preparing a Final Student Assessment

Some instructors find it useful to offer students an assessment of their performance throughout the quarter, rather than just a list of individual grades on assignments. Check out a model for what a holistic final student assessment might look like at the end of a PWR course.

Teaching Writing in the Major

Every Stanford student takes a Writing in the Major (WIM) course as part of their undergraduate education. Here are some tips that we offer for teaching a WIM course with the students' writing needs in mind.

Teaching with Technology

Technology is an integral part of the teaching experience; the tools that we use can inherently change the kinds of lessons we teach. This series of pages helps instructors navigate their teaching with technology choices, from writing a technology policy to managing a course website to incorporating social media and other digital tools into teaching.

Online Teaching

Archive of resources developed in 2020 to support the shift to online instruction.