Guide to Writing at SNL


The SNL Writing Program Values and Goals


Like the School for New Learning, the SNL Writing Program embraces the values of life-long, reflective, student-centered, integrated and experience-based learning. The goals of the Writing Program follow from these values.

Life-Long and Reflective

  • To provide just-in-time support to students and faculty for continuous improvement of student writing at SNL.
  • To teach students to be self-reflective writers who will continue to improve as writers beyond SNL.
  • To continuously renew our pedagogy by learning from others and reflecting upon our own practice.

Student Centered

  • To meet students where they are and help them attain the goals they have set for themselves at SNL.
  • To assign writing projects that arise from and are shaped by students’ interests.
  • To teach students to assess and address their own writing needs.
  • To privilege writing instruction that is learner-centric.

Integrated into the SNL Curriculum

  • To deliver writing instruction that helps students succeed in the unique context of SNL while also building their skills for success in their writing efforts outside of and after SNL.
  • To integrate writing into the teaching of all competences in ways that enhance learning.

Experience Based

  • To promote writing as a means of reflecting upon, making meaning of, and communicating experience.
  • To value students’ various literacies, while helping students know how and when to move between these literacies.
  • To value experience-based writing, while teaching students how to use writing to describe, reflect upon, analyze, and situate their experience in academic discourse when necessary.

On Writing

“[I] use writing in my classes to help students learn through connecting what they read and hear in the class to their own experiences.” -- Dana McDermott

“Writing is the visual representation of reflection.” -- Paula Bartholome

“[Writing] is the vehicle to developing and evidencing experience-based learning.” -- Patrick E. Ryan

“Logical thinking is reflected in logical writing.” -- Cecelia Radlowski

“Writing helps clarify one's own thought processes." -- Fred Wellisch

“Say all you have to say in the fewest possible words, or your reader will be sure to skip them; and it the plainest possible words or he will certainly misunderstand them.” -- John Ruskin

“When you write, you don’t follow somebody else’s scheme; you design your own. As a writer, you learn to make words behave the way you want them to. . . . Learning to write is not a matter of learning the rules that govern the use of the semicolon or the names of sentence structures, nor is it a matter of manipulating words; it is a matter of making meanings, and that is the work of an active mind.”-- Ann E. Berthoff in Forming/Thinking/Writing: The Composing Imagination

“We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand.” -- Robert Cecil Day Lewis

“Writing is not like painting where you add. It is not what you put on the canvas that the reader sees. Writing is more like sculpture where you remove, you eliminate in order to make the work visible. Even those pages you remove somehow remain.” -- Eli Wiessel

“Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it.” -- Jesse Stuart

“Read over your compositions, and wherever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.” -- Samuel Johnson, from Boswell’s Life of Johnson


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