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Revising for a New Rhetorical Situation

Revision is an opportunity for students to gain a deeper understanding of the material they’re assigned. One way to get students to engage in revision is to ask that they repackage their work for a new rhetorical situation, that is, change the audience, purpose, or context. Shifts in the rhetorical situation often also require students to expand, reorganize, or change vocabulary or tone — all of which build linguistic fluency that helps students develop as writers.

Incorporating Revision Assignments into your Course

      Build from an academic assignment.
      Turn your students’ attention to an outward public audience. Make sure the assignment requires notable changes of genre/form, audience, and/or purpose.

      Provide pertinent instruction.
      Teach students about or ask students to research the new genre, audience, or purpose. Incorporate instruction that provides them with the necessary skills for producing content in the new writing situation.

      Think about transferability.
      Consider using genres that are relevant to students’ academic or professional futures. These exercises in practical transformation can increase students’ investment in the course content.

      Manage different levels of revision.
      Make sure that students don’t neglect shortcomings of their original drafts. Encourage students to pay attention to length, organization, and language as they revise for the new rhetorical situation.

Resources

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