10-second review: Recruits a community group, perhaps even a business, and the students complete documents for the organization.
Title: “Teaching Writing for the ‘Real World’: Community and work Place Writing.” M Cox, et al. English Journal (May 2009), 73-80. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).
Summary: A case study of community-based writing. Students and teacher work with a representative from the community group. Students are taught the following concerns about work-place writing: Readability. Page layout (columns, boxes, tri-fold, double-sided). Font choice. Use of white space. Color. Images (logos, icons, art work). Presentation (kinds of papers, color of paper, bindings). Headers and footers. Headings and sub-headings. Textual emphasis: underlining, bold face, italics. Charts, tables, visual aids, photos, etc.
Authors point out possible problems with the project: finding a client and keeping the client engaged. Time constraints. Negative response from the client to the students’ product: make clear that the client does not have to accept the students’ work, but will evaluate the work and show them how to improve it. Collaboration by the students is a difficult process. Suggests giving each member of the group a title, designating the role in the process.
Comment: I like the idea. Sounds like a lot of work, but the writing is real, for a real audience. I know of at least one social organization, the Elks Club in northern