The concept of student voice has become a powerful metaphor in college-level writing class. In this article, the author enthusiastically invites her students to activate their "voices." But like healthy self-concept or freedom or individuality, voice only comes from within. It cannot be given, imposed, and "taught." Too many students seem hesitant to take a stand, to develop or trust their voices. In this article, the author shares her three classroom approaches: (assist 1) engaging first-year writers in naming strengths and weaker areas; (assist 2) determining descriptors that fit their various compositions; and (assist 3) applying a rubric that details all the grade-determinant components. Furthermore, these three approaches focus on helping the students find the vocabulary they need to wrap their voices around words and to describe their learning. By putting different words in their mouths to assess their own work, students found different voices.
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