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Instructor presents at academic conference

staff writer

Published: Thursday, December 6, 2012

Updated: Thursday, December 6, 2012 10:12

M. Whitney Olsen

M. Whitney Olsen

M. Whitney Olsen, a lecturer in the department of English at USU, presented at an academic conference hosted by TYCA West, the Two-Year College Association for English, Oct 19-20. The presentation took place at the Taylorsville campus of Salt Lake Community College.


Olsen’s co-presenters were Duane Roen, the president of the Council of Writing Program Administrators, and Angela Clark-Oates, the course manager for Arizona State University’s online Writers Studio.


Olsen’s presentation was entitled “Using the Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing to Foster Learning.” The document presented in the presentation was the Eight Habits of Mind, which is a framework for success to help students in their academic experience. It was published by three different major English organizations.


“The focus of our presentation was on the Eight Habits of Mind, and those eight help students not only in the writing process but on focusing on different ways to make these happen in the classroom,” Olsen said.


The habits are also designed to help students develop advanced thinking patterns and methods they would use throughout their entire college experience and future careers, he said.


In the presentation, Roen covered the birth of the habits. The lifelong English scholars and researchers who analyzed these learning techniques gathered together and created the document on their own based on the common core standards.


The document focuses on undergraduate writing classes and was designed for those writing programs.


“The council for writing program administrators is comprised of those people who administrate over those writing programs,” Olsen said. “It didn’t become its own discipline until recently more recently, in the last 100-200 years, and the requirements for everyone to take a writing class didn’t arise until more recently.”


The Habits of Mind document consists of eight practices of psychological activity. These habits are curiosity, openness, engagement, creativity, persistence, flexibility, responsibility and metacognition.

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