Skip to main content

Grad Student Writing Discussion Groups

In Fall 2019, we will pilot writing discussion groups for graduate students writing in English as a Second Language (ESL). These groups will meet weekly to read and provide feedback on each other’s drafts in progress. Research shows that, for all writers, discussing writing with others is one of the most effective ways to develop your own writing skills and improve the clarity of your writing.

The groups provide a collaborative environment where a group of talented graduate students support each other in the writing process. In group sessions, you will have the opportunity to receive feedback from fellow ESL graduate students in a variety of disciplines. You will also support your peers by providing feedback on their writing project.

How It Works

Participation in an ESL Graduate Student Writing Discussion Group requires you to complete no reading or work outside of the regular weekly meeting time (except to submit one writing sample on a chosen week), so you you can devote all your energy and attention to your participation in each group meeting itself. 

In the first meeting (Week 2), you will meet other group members and choose a week in which you would like the group to read your writing.

In weekly group meetings between Weeks 3 and 8, the group will read samples submitted by 2 group members. These samples should ideally be drafts of current writing projects. Writers will tell the group what particular aspects or sections of their drafts that they would like feedback on. The group will spend reading a short section of the draft, followed by 35 minutes of feedback and discussion.

You must have a draft in progress in order to be eligible for a group. 

  • They do not have to be completed drafts--we are happy to support works-in-progress.
  • The writing should be in complete prose (i.e. not fragmented notes or outlines).
  • Writers will tell the group what particular aspects or sections of their drafts that they would like feedback on. (For example: “Does my Introduction give a clear sense of the significance of my research?”)
  • For each sample, the group will spend ten minutes reading a short section, followed by 35 minutes of feedback and discussion.
  • Through conversing about writing, we will explore strategies for writing clearly and working through the writing process.

Please note: this is not a proofreading group. Though strategies for revising and proofreading effectively will be covered, group feedback will focus on improving the clarity of writing and its effectiveness at achieving its main purpose with its audience, rather than correcting grammatical or technical points.

Time Commitment 

2 hours per week during Weeks 2 through 8. For the session during which the group will read your work, you will submit your current writing project the day before. In all other sessions, you only need to be present to offer your constructive feedback to other writers. You will not need to do any work outside of the group time. 

For the group model to work, it is important that you can commit to the first session in Week 2 and at least 5 out of the subsequent 6 sessions.

Group Times

Weeks Meeting Day, Time Dates Target Audience
2-8

Tuesdays,

3:30-5:30pm

October 8 - November 19 ESL Grad Students
2-8

Wednesdays,

4:30-6:30pm

October 9 - November 20 ESL Grad Students

How to Join

The application form to join a group is now open and will stay open until Tueday, October 1, 2019. 

If you’re interested in joining, read our Principles of Community and Ground Rules below to make sure this is the right program for you. Then, please complete the short application form. We will be in touch shortly after to follow up with you and let you know if you have been placed in a group. 

Ground Rules and Community Guidelines

  1. Join a group ready to connect with peers, share your writing, and help others with theirs. Groups will provide a collaborative environment where a group of talented graduate students writing academic English as a second language support each other in the writing process. Through this group, you may even meet people who become permanent writing partners!
  2. If you are only looking for a proofreader, you will be disappointed. This group provides a space to discuss advanced academic writing strategies, focusing on communicating rich information effectively to an audience of expert readers. We will only be able to look at a section of each writer’s work, so do not expect to leave a session with your paper ‘done’ or ‘fixed.’
  3. Participation is key. Research shows that, for all writers, discussing writing with others is one of the most effective ways to develop your own writing skills. Joining this group requires you to complete no work outside of the regular weekly meeting time (except to submit your writing sample on your appointed week) so that you devote all your energy to each group meeting itself.
  4. Be a kind commentator and a receptive writer. Academic life already has enough times when we need to criticize others and defend ourselves! This group will be a pleasant experience for all.
  5. Commit to the process. One quarter of participating in our writing group will help you enormously, but the model only works if everyone commits to attending sessions, arrives on time, submits writing samples by deadlines, and offers constructive feedback. Participants must commit to attending the first session (Week 2) and 5 out of the 6 subsequent sessions. 
  6. Keep work confidential. Group members will share their ongoing research and writing for the purposes of getting constructive feedback. Group members will respect the integrity of each others' authorship and intellectual ownership over the work they share. 

Apply here to join a writing discussion group!