To some degree or another, many educators rely on traditional taxonomies or curricular clusters to help them explain, prompt, and assess student work. Perhaps they use terms from Bloom’s Taxonomy (“applying,” “analyzing,” “evaluating,” and so forth) when crafting learning objectives. If they teach writing, they also likely incorporate discussion of rhetorical modes such as classification, comparison/contrast, or narration. They also will address rhetorical aims such as explaining and solving. However, these usual taxonomies may overshadow a sizable range of other teachable and vital skills that are crucial for succeeding in academic life.

In the webinar “Crucial Thinking: The Necessary Intellectual Skills for Academic Writers,” Dr. John Mauk provides an overview of some common intellectual skills in undergraduate writing assignments—especially those that have been eclipsed or muted by popular taxonomies. Mauk, co-author of several Cengage Learning texts including The Composition of Everyday Life, Fourth Edition and Think About It, also invites you to think about the most crucial skills you address in your courses and consider how to integrate them more fully into your learning objectives and assignments.

View the recorded webinar here. 


What are some of the intellectual skills that you want students to adopt, practice, and take away from your course? How do you incorporate those skills into your assignments and in-class discussions? Share your ideas below.