Academic writing workshop student quotes (PG Cert 2011/12 Sem B)
Writing WORKSHOPWriting is easy – you just stare at a blank piece of paper till your eyeballs bleed!
Writing WORKSHOP• Writing activity• Reflecting on the activity• What we can do ...• Next steps• Useful resources
Writing ActivityFree writingEach person should have in front of them:• Two sheets of paper:• One, ‘Writing’ - blank, to write upon,• Two, ‘Commentary’ - to note reasons for not writing• Pens or pencils
The Activity• When asked, turn to your ‘Writing’ page and write for five minutes without pause on the question on the next slide.• If you stop writing for any reason, write that reason, no matter how trivial or insignificant on the ‘Commentary’ sheet.
Now for five minutes write on:What I like about my own academicwriting practices
1) Some reasons for stopping:• Thinking• Searching for a word, spelling, tense• Uncomfortable• Distracted• Couldn’t see the point• Don’t know enough yet• What are you going to do about this?
Some solutions …• Get into a good physical & mental space: Be comfortable – your way Accept the task – or fake it!• Brainstorm & plan before you write• Once you start – go with the flow• Don’t stop!• Free write: Do not search for the right word – re- draft and improve later• Leave gaps – read more after writing.
Reflection (2)• What do you like about your own academic writing practices?
What other staff have said• I discover what I’m thinking• I puzzle out my ideas• It’s an exploration• It’s exciting• I am concise and effective• I try to be helpful and useful• It’s teasing out my thinking• I never quite know where it’s going• I’m incredibly organised…
I am still not sure if my work isconsidered academic, I still don’t knowwhat makes one of my essays betterthan another.
I never look at the feedback – I justcheck the grade… if it’s good I’mhappy – if it’s bad (I sulk) …
Academic language, the kind of language thatdoesn’t readily flow off my tongue: the type oflanguage I rarely use when speaking to mypeers. The type of language that I don’treadily understand and the type of languagethat means spending hours at a computerturning something quite simple intosomething that sounds moderately impressivewith elitist results.
Can we change that?Can we set up safe, creative spaces for student writing?Things to think about:• We treat writing differently… If it were sport or driving or cooking...• Process not product• Craft not perfect• Practise, practise, practise…
Perhaps it is not that we/they cannot writeWe all need to:• ‘Write to learn’• Write little and often• Half hour a day...• Write first...• Censor later
Free Writing• Peter Elbow (1998) argues that free-writing encourages us to write at length without fear of censorship and:• Frees us to explore a topic• Encourages understanding• Focusses on the writing...• Spelling & grammar (3 min): http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlL5W2qA0EA• On writing (9min):• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDUn1c4uxUE
NEXT STEPS…Make class time for students to:•Write little and often•Summarise an argument•Explain a concept•Apply a theory•Start the assignment•Keep a learning journal...•Write for half an hour every day...
Critical thinking questions• What, why, when, where, who, how• What if, so what, what next…• http://learnhigher.ac.uk/Students/Critical-thinking
Essay structure• ‘Body’: 80% - answers Q in chain of paragraphs: draft & re-draft – use the questions…• Introduction: 7% - says how you will answer the Q – write last.• Conclusion – 13% - proves you have answered the whole Q.• Bibliography – shows the reading you did to answer the Q.
Paragraph as dialogue• What is this paragraph about?• What exactly is that? (Define)• Tell me more…• What is the evidence & what does it mean?• So what? (How does this link back to the Q?)
Writing …• Organise your DESK:• http://learning.londonmet.ac.uk/TLTC/learnhigher/desk/desk.html• Check out these writing resources:• http://learning.londonmet.ac.uk/TLTC/connorj/WritingGroups/• Essay writing animation – Portsmouth:• http://ondemand.port.ac.uk/central/One_way_to_write_an_essay.wmv• EXCELLENT site for linking phrases and for WRITING: http://www.phrasebank.manchester.ac.uk/• Essay/report quiz: http://learning.londonmet.ac.uk/LMBS/study/reports_essays/• Our Preventing Plagiarism course (also in WebLearn):• http://learning.londonmet.ac.uk/TLTC/learnhigher/Plagiarism/