it doesn't help that I think the only things you can do to improve your writing are to read everything you can get your hands on and write at every opportunity. that's it. there are no techniques that I know of that can actually make you a good writer.
of course part of what we are teaching them is how to read, and that I think we have made some progress on. it seems we have gotten them to slow down and look at what is on the page and think about their own assumptions when they judge a text. that at least is teachable and in some ways far more important than learning good writing. if I can get just one student to question the value of binary logic I feel I've done my job.