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What does a Writing Instructor do?

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  • Written By: Elizabeth West
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2016
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Writing instructors teach the basics of writing, including grammar skills, sentence structure, and composition. Types of writing taught include creative, technical, or business writing. They help students with the expression of ideas, point out problems, and devise exercises to develop skills and concepts of writing. A writing instructor may be a teacher in elementary, high school or college settings, or work in special education with developmentally disabled students or adult learners.

The creative writing instructor focuses on non-journalistic writing. In courses designed for a general overview, the instructor will discuss narrative flow, character development, and use of metaphor and analogy. More intensive courses concentrating on novel writing, poetry, or short stories help students learn their respective forms and how to produce a completed work. The instructor may include a unit on how to market their work. Creative instructors also hold workshops and are often published writers themselves.

A technical writing instructor shows students how to prepare documents informing readers on a particular subject or instructing them on a process. Training manuals for companies, instructions for software or hardware, and scientific reports are all examples of technical writing. Legal writing is specialized technical writing that requires instructors to teach analytical skills and persuasive language. A good technical writing instructor will be able to show students how to cite their sources correctly.

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The business writing instructor gives lessons on clear and appropriate business communications. People in business need to know how to write memos, requisitions, letters, reports, emails, and proposals. The instructor may construct a curriculum around job seeking documents such as resumes and cover letters. Marketing documents and copy writing are more specific skills, and will likely be taught by an expert instructor.

Writing instructor jobs exist on all education levels from elementary to university. Self-employed instructors such as tutors and writing coaches may assist struggling students craft essays and papers, or help authors with a novel. A master’s or doctorate degree is usually required to teach in educational settings, whether in a school or through a private company.

Strong grammatical skills, editorial skills and a love of words and how they are put together are assets to the position. An instructor in legal or science writing should be familiar with the jargon of that field as well as requirements for documents such as legal briefs and research papers. Tutors may find private students, or work for literacy programs or learning centers.

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