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  • 1. Teachers as academic writers: the use of writing groups Professor Graham Badley Anglia Ruskin University Chelmsford, UK December 2007
  • 2. A research question: How can university teachers become scholars who write and publish regularly?05/10/12 graham.badley@anglia.ac.uk 2
  • 3. A proposed solution:  set up writing groups for those who wish to become scholar-writers  use a practitioner-research approach to evaluate writing groups as a way of helping teachers become scholar-writers05/10/12 graham.badley@anglia.ac.uk 3
  • 4. Writing groups…  are small groups of teachers who write and read one another’s texts  provide critical and supportive feedback  promote growth as scholar-writers  encourage autonomy and connectedness  may be tutor-guided yet non-authoritarian  are self-critical communities of practitioner- inquirers05/10/12 graham.badley@anglia.ac.uk 4
  • 5. Ten reasons for joining a writing group:  promoting self-development and self-refinement  supporting teachers as academic writers  helping teachers develop their academic identities  helping academics improve and increase their written output  developing an incremental and not a bingeing approach to writing  getting each one’s writing reviewed by other group members  overcoming fear and anxiety about scholarly writing  forming part of an institutional strategy to help create a culture of research and scholarly writing in the department or institution  demystifying the processes of writing and getting published  increasing enjoyment and satisfaction in academic writing05/10/12 graham.badley@anglia.ac.uk 5
  • 6. Practitioner-research on writing groups involves:  teachers critiquing both their own texts and those provided on academic writing  both emic (insider) and etic (outsider) perspectives  a continuous, cyclical process of ‘coming to know’ and of improving practice05/10/12 graham.badley@anglia.ac.uk 6
  • 7. Practitioner-research uses cycles of:  planning to write academic texts  acting (writing the texts)  observing (reading) the texts produced  critically reflecting on the texts produced and on the process of writing itself05/10/12 graham.badley@anglia.ac.uk 7
  • 8. Practitioner-research on writing groups should create:  a learning community  a community of (writing) practice  educational literacy05/10/12 graham.badley@anglia.ac.uk 8
  • 9. Writing groups as learning communities should encourage:  a safe democratic setting for sharing ideas  engagement with the writing process  growth as scholar-writers  organisational change (towards a culture of scholarship and writing)  critical and supportive feedback about one another’s writing05/10/12 graham.badley@anglia.ac.uk 9
  • 10. Writing groups as communities of practice should help provide:  a theoretical framework of critical conversation about ‘a joint enterprise’ (Wenger, 1998)  dialectical tension between action (writing) and reflection (critique)  insights into ‘a shared repertoire’ (Wenger, 1998)  ‘mutual engagement’ (Wenger, 1998) and ‘a sharing of the culture’ (Bruner, 2002)  growth into (identities as) scholar-writers05/10/12 graham.badley@anglia.ac.uk 10
  • 11. Writing groups should create educational literacy through:  helping university teachers become more critical readers of all educational texts  helping teachers become critical writers of their own texts  helping teachers become more self-critical about their own educational practice05/10/12 graham.badley@anglia.ac.uk 11
  • 12. Writing groups may become problematic:  when group loyalty exerts pressure to conform to core beliefs and values  when groups limit individual autonomy  when group leaders or factions seek power and control over others  when the rhetoric of community replaces actual criticism, dissent and scepticism05/10/12 graham.badley@anglia.ac.uk 12
  • 13. Writing groups appear to help develop scholar-writers by:  striking a balance between autonomy and connectedness (Bruner, 2002)  increasing teachers’ autonomy (ability and freedom) to write as they see it  using connectedness (community and mutuality) to grow and ‘keep becoming’ as scholar-writers (Miller, 1988)05/10/12 graham.badley@anglia.ac.uk 13
  • 14. Post-(presentation) script 1 Becoming scholar-writers means becoming educationally literate, creating our own individual and social worlds, and taking the reality of democracy seriously (Brookfield in Scott, 2000: 17) Reflective scepticism for educationally literate scholar-writers is a strategy for denying textual coercion and a continual process of making and remaking themselves (Scott, 2000: 127)05/10/12 graham.badley@anglia.ac.uk 14
  • 15. Post- (presentation) script 2  all reading and writing, all inquiry, contribute to an edifying philosophy, the point of which is ‘to keep the conversation going rather than to find objective truth’ (Rorty quoted in Scott, 2000)  edifying philosophy resists all attempts to close off conversation by freezing-over particular descriptions of the world as if they were the final word. This freezing-over would lead to the dehumanization of human beings (based on Rorty in Scott, 2000)05/10/12 graham.badley@anglia.ac.uk 15
  • 16. Using writing groups: some references  Bruner, J. (1986) Actual minds, possible worlds London: Harvard University Press  Bruner, J. (2002) Making stories: law, literature and life London: Harvard University Press  Jarvis, P. (1999) The practitioner-researcher: developing theory from practice San Francisco: Jossey-Bass  Gere, A.R. (1987) Writing groups: history, theory and implications Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press  Lee, A. & Boud, D. Writing groups, change and academic identity: (2003) research development and local practice Studies in Higher Education, Vol 28 No 2: 187-200  Miller, A. (1987) Timebends: a life London: Methuen  Murray, R. (2005) Writing for academic journals Maidenhead: Open University Press  Scott, D. (2000): Reading educational research and policy London: RoutledgeFalmer  Wenger, E. (1998) Communities of practice Cambridge: Cambridge University Press05/10/12 graham.badley@anglia.ac.uk 16