A Conversational Approach: Using Writing Center Pedagogy to Comment for Transfer in the Classroom

Elizabeth Busekrus, Missouri Baptist University

Published Apr 2, 2018



While some studies hint at how teachers’ written comments help students transfer writing skills across contexts (Wardle, 2007), the literature on feedback’s role in the transfer process has yet to be fully explored. Within this article, a mixed methods pilot study, based in a college writing class at a Midwestern university, is used to explore the correlation between transfer and teacher feedback. In this study, quantitative measures consisted of coding each comment by type (subject of the comment) and tone (connotation behind the comment). Types became coded into one of the following groups: content, grammar/mechanics, clarity, formatting, and general, and tone was coded into general impressions (positive, negative, or neutral feedback) and style (directive, suggestive, or other). The students’ writings were evaluated and compared against the comments to note any trends. development. Qualitative data consisted of interviewing and surveying two students throughout the semester. Findings from this initial study validated previous research; transfer, overall, was not integrated into this classroom. To rethink this process, this article discusses how writing center principles can be applied to commenting for transfer. Writing center feedback, in its individualized, student-centered approach, can reframe transfer in the classroom because of its intentionality and scaffolding in goal setting and dialogue.