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Reflection, metacognition, genre, transfer of learning, writing pedagogy


Student self-analysis and reflective work can be useful components of the writing classroom. This article examines a student self-diagnostic tool, developed by the author, which can elicit closer attention paid to the student’s own writing, analysis, and research processes and to other desirable outcomes the teacher’s learning plan may be pursuing. This tool, the Genre Understanding Sheet or GUS, has been successfully deployed in a variety of writing courses such as introductory composition, business and professional writing, and technical communication. The article examines the GUS and its development and rationale, reviews the underlying science and theory-work which inform its design, offers advice for integrating it into the writing classroom and making productive use of student output, and concludes with a discussion of benefits and the optimal motivation for teachers who choose to deploy it in their own classes. An annotated sample GUS is included.



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