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Engaging Ideas: The Professor's Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom
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Engaging Ideas: The Professor's Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom

4.24  ·  Rating Details  ·  226 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Engaging Ideas surprised me. I didn't expect to like it, but I really did. I didn't expect to find so much in it that would cause me to pause and reflect on my own practices as a teacher, but this is exactly what happened repeatedly. I didn't expect to find the writing so sprightly an attention-holding, but it was. And I didn't expect that I would decide to change the natu ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 27th 1996 by Jossey-Bass
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I've been dipping in and out of this book all summer, and it's one of the best teaching resources I've ever read. John Bean has been a college English professor for 40 plus years, and he draws from a wide range of research on teaching, motivation, and cognitive learning strategies to ground his book. What results is an eminently practical, comprehensive discussion of ways to integrate writing (and by extension, active learning) into one's course. I especially like his idea of "microthemes," brie ...more
Jun 10, 2014 Gaijinmama rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely the best book I've read on teaching writing and critical thinking skills. The reference list alone is worth the price of the book.
Aug 25, 2014 Ron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! I LOVE this book!!!

I heard about this book at a workshop on the teaching of writing in college-level courses.

This book is intended for instructors who teach in any discipline and contains lots of specific examples from a wide variety of disciplines.

The book is very appropriate for instructors who have little to no specialized training in the teaching of writing. Yet, it has so much great content, I'm very confident it would also be useful for instructors who already have had some training
DWRL Library
Dec 05, 2008 DWRL Library rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pedagogy
Extremely helpful to the beginning writing teacher!! So much so, that I'm buying the book for myself. Considered to be an "Owner's Manual" for using writing as a method of critical thinking. Author offers instruction on planning your course through writing assignments (especially good for when you need to write your 309K proposal), and concrete ideas for creating those writing assignments.
Chapter 4 presents a helpful way to deal with and think about student errors with grammar and correctness,
Adam Wilsman
How to integrate writing into regular classroom activites and using that writing to encourage critical thinking. This book promises to offer a variety of ideas on this subject.

Common paper writing problems. "'And then' writing and 'all about' writing have discernable organizational plans--chronological in the former case and encyclopedia in the latter. Data dump writing, by contrast, has no discernible structure. It reveals a student overwhelmed with information and uncertain what to do with it.
Jun 22, 2014 MM rated it liked it
Well, let's see, what to say about this one. Interesting to learn about the WAC (Writing Across the Curriculum) movement -- had no idea it had such lengthy roots. Also interesting to learn about research on teaching composition more generally. While I assign lots of writing in my classes, I don't teach it formally. This gave me some solid ideas on how to (hopefully) get better writing (and research) out of students, and how to get them to approach as a tool for thinking, that kind of thing. We'l ...more
Sarah Schantz
Nov 25, 2015 Sarah Schantz rated it really liked it
I read this for a professional development class I took at the college where I teach both creative writing and composition--a program called, Writing Across the Curriculum. The book, along with the other two that we read, was a refreshing surprise after having suffered through some previous texts about rhetoric and writing I'd read on my own in an effort to not only become a better writer myself, but a better writing teacher; while it reinforced, or simply named some of the methods and/or reason ...more
Apr 10, 2012 Lauren rated it liked it
I'll summarize this one quickly: amazing. Teachers and especially Professors in every discipline need to read this book-- a wonderful source of ideas for writing-across-the-curriculum with excellent explanations and proof that it is necessary to encourage revision and process over the simple submission of (usually last-minute midnight attempts and sub-par quality) final papers.

For more information...
Bean does a fantastic job of providing the reasons for incorporating writing into every departme
Jennifer Shaiman
Mar 10, 2016 Jennifer Shaiman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-work
This review is for the second edition. This is the book that I wish someone had handed me before I first stepped into a classroom. While I "discovered" many of the techniques Bean discusses here on my own or through mentoring by and collaborating with other teachers, these lessons were learned hard way, in many cases. How nice it would have been to have been to have known all these approaches from the beginning!
Cara Byrne
Apr 18, 2015 Cara Byrne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic resource for writing instructors at the college level. From rubric development to class activities, Bean offers smart resources and helpful information about writing across the disciplines.
Apr 27, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it
After reading the introduction and the opening chapters, I keep thinking "I know all this." That thought raises the uncomfortable question: If I already know this, why am I not doing it?
Laurie Neighbors
Aug 15, 2015 Laurie Neighbors rated it it was amazing
I've been using this book for years to train new teachers and veteran teachers. Simple and straight-forward.
Mel Burdick
Sep 28, 2015 Mel Burdick rated it it was amazing
A wonderful overview of the ways teachers can use writing in their classrooms. Those who have a background in composition and writing studies will find that little of this information is "new," but it is organized in a way that allows writing teachers to re-envision the activities and assessments they use in their classrooms. I can see this book as especially helpful to teachers who are uncomfortable using writing in their classes, and/or folks interested in WAC or WID.
Kimberly Coyle
Jun 12, 2016 Kimberly Coyle rated it really liked it
Required reading, but well worth it.
Curt Bobbitt
Aug 19, 2015 Curt Bobbitt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The tone and content of this book of advice has potential for any teacher at any level. The sound basis in research neither clutters nor dampens Bean's enthusiasm and helpful tone in each of the sixteen chapters. The high-resolution focus on improving students' writing leads to numerous relevant examples and suggestions for creating assignments, integrating them into study of many content areas, and helping students transfer gains to other realms of their lives.
Toby Coley
May 29, 2013 Toby Coley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Seriously, this is one of the very best books I have read that integrates current research into practical advice and assignments for teacher in any discipline who want to integrate writing, critical thinking, and active learning into the classroom. Also, if you want to be a great teacher, you will want to integrate those things.
The best book out there on teaching writing to college students. I can't say enough about this book. Every suggestion won't work for every professor, but I don't know anyone who hasn't found at least something useful in this book.

I've read it a couple of times now, and I learn something new each time I read it.
May 06, 2013 Caryn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must-read for any teacher (writing or not) looking for ways to integrate writing across the curriculum. Bean makes a compelling argument for including writing in every discipline to foster critical thinking and improve communication. It also includes plenty of ideas for great assignments. Highly recommended.
Adam Sprague
This book is okay at best. He contradicts himself by stressing process-based comments, yet assigning grades to his papers. There are some good things here that I may implement into my own courses. However, they will probably be few and far between and won't add anything groundbreaking to my own pedagogy.
May 27, 2008 Rashaan rated it really liked it
Recommended by my Faculty Diversity Internship Mentor at Merritt College, this book is an invaluable, practical, and hands-on guide for teaching critical thinking, reading and writing. A must for anyone in academics, no matter the discipline.
May 17, 2016 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved the amount of practical suggestions that I could take into the classroom the next day in addition to helping me reconceptualize my classes over all.
Leslie Ann
Jul 14, 2015 Leslie Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: work-related
Chock-full of great ideas to help students write better and think more critically. The book is excellently written and contains wonderful illustrations.
Mar 25, 2008 Everett rated it it was amazing
Shelves: schoolbooks
John Bean has a ginormous compilation of ideas for teaching critical reading through writing...perfect for WAC programs and Composition teachers.
Polly Callahan
Aug 07, 2013 Polly Callahan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education
excellent suggestions, advice and "how to." useful for AP teachers and some strategies would also work with most high school students.
Feb 14, 2010 Christopher rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teaching
This book is perhaps mainly aimed at university lecturers, but I found it a real inspiration for the IELTS group that I used to teach.
Nov 09, 2011 Holly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
THis is a great book to gain ideas for getting students to write! love the practicality of this book!
Oct 27, 2008 Penny rated it it was amazing
a must read for anyone who teaches anything - help incorporate writing into your teaching!!
Oct 16, 2012 Jamie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic book. Great tool for the writing classroom and beyond.
Elaine Bearden
sounds fascinating - millikin teaching book group
Aug 29, 2007 Susannah rated it it was amazing
This book is awesome.
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“When students learn to wrestle with questions about purpose, audience, and genre, they develop a conceptual view of writing that has lifelong usefulness in any communicative context.” 1 likes
“As students cross the threshold from outside to insider, they also cross the threshold from superficial learning motivated by grades to deep learning motivated by engagement with questions. Their transformation entails an awakening--even, perhaps, a falling in love.” 0 likes
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