Presenting the Onion

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Slides of a presentation at CSU in-house teaching & learning conference 2012 - The Onion model - a tool for talking about academic writing

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Presenting the Onion

  1. 1. Presenting The Onion:a tool for discussing academic writing Cassily Charles – Academic Writing Coordinator (HDR students) | Academic Support
  2. 2. The Onion Outline 1. Introductions 2. What is the Onion? • Features of the Onion model • Provenance – application & theory • Applications in Higher Ed 3. The Onion in use at CSU: research literacies Cassily Charles – Academic Writing Coordinator (HDR students) | Academic Support
  3. 3. The Onion 1. Introductions • Cassily Charles • Academic Writing Coordinator (HDR students) • New unit in Academic Support in 2012 • Role: develop & implement HDR literacy strategy • Background: linguistics, higher ed, academic literacy Cassily Charles – Academic Writing Coordinator (HDR students) | Academic Support
  4. 4. The Onion 2. What is the Onion? Cassily Charles – Academic Writing Coordinator (HDR students) | Academic Support
  5. 5. The Onion 2. What is the Onion? Evaluating others’ work, entering a Critical debate, considering alternatives – at least 2 positions, including yours Persuasive Taking a position, making a claim or recommendation, interpreting, developing an argument Analytical Re-organising information: applying models to data, comparing, finding patterns & categories Descriptive Providing information & facts (Humphrey, S., Charles, C., Economou, D. & Drury, H., forthcoming) Cassily Charles – Academic Writing Coordinator (HDR students) | Academic Support
  6. 6. The Onion 2. What is the Onion? e.g. identifying a research ‘gap’, Critical critiquing the literature, evaluating a methology, entering a debate Persuasive e.g. discussion and conclusion, interpreting findings, arguing a case, recommending an action Analytical e.g. results, identifying themes in the literature, applying a model to a case study Descriptive e.g. materials & methods, paraphrases (Humphrey, S., Charles, C., Economou, D. & Drury, H., forthcoming) Cassily Charles – Academic Writing Coordinator (HDR students) | Academic Support
  7. 7. The Onion 2. What is the Onion? 1. Model of academic writing Critical types, based on recognisable types of academic purpose Persuasive 2. Applied linguistic model, based on grammar & discourse features Analytical Descriptive (Humphrey, S., Charles, C., Economou, D. & Drury, H., forthcoming) Cassily Charles – Academic Writing Coordinator (HDR students) | Academic Support
  8. 8. The Onion 2. What is the Onion? Endorsement (+/-), specific or generalised reference to other voices Critical + value-laden language e.g. Lack of explicit focus on this issue Persuasive Value-laden language, modality e.g. shows the importance of AMF diversity in revegetation of saline land Analytical Abstract categories, logical relations, taxonomies e.g. primary vs. secondary salinity Descriptive Concrete entities & processes – objects of study in the discipline e.g. saline soils occupy 830 million ha. (Humphrey, S., Charles, C., Economou, D. & Drury, H., forthcoming) Cassily Charles – Academic Writing Coordinator (HDR students) | Academic Support
  9. 9. The Onion 2. What is the Onion? Provenance of the Onion model • Approx 10 years in academic literacy teaching Learning Centre, University of Sydney • Roots in Systemic Functional Linguistics (Halliday, 1994; Martin, 1992; Martin & White, 2005) • Early work on essay types (Martin & Peters, 1985) • Critical literacy in school (Macken-Horarik, 1998) • Evaluative stance in academia (Hood, 2010) • Gap: ‘critical analysis’ is universally desired but ill-defined. • Humphrey, S., Charles, C., Economou, D, & Drury, H. (forthcoming) The Onion – Building a textual model of critical analysis Cassily Charles – Academic Writing Coordinator (HDR students) | Academic Support
  10. 10. The Onion 2. What is the Onion? Applications in Higher Ed • Feedback, instructions and rubrics: o Shared metalanguage between students and staff o Accessible for students and staff across disciplines o Highly adaptable for specific disciplines & tasks • Tool for literacy mapping across curriculum • Potential aid to constructive alignment: bridging between learning outcomes and assessment tasks Cassily Charles – Academic Writing Coordinator (HDR students) | Academic Support
  11. 11. The Onion 2. What is the Onion? Critical Persuasive Analytical Descriptive Process of developing sophistication Cassily Charles – Academic Writing Coordinator (HDR students) | Academic Support
  12. 12. The Onion 3. The Onion at CSU Examples: Scaffolding research literacies 1. Visualising, reflecting on, and discussing candidates’ processes e.g. - Individual discussions with students +/- supervisors - Workshop for supervisors on feedback strategies → product versus process – planners versus drafters → developing a shared understanding with supervisors → negotiating timeline, format of drafts & focus of feedback Cassily Charles – Academic Writing Coordinator (HDR students) | Academic Support
  13. 13. The Onion 3. The Onion at CSU Critical Persuasive Analytical Descriptive Process of developing sophistication Cassily Charles – Academic Writing Coordinator (HDR students) | Academic Support
  14. 14. The Onion 3. The Onion at CSU Examples: Scaffolding research literacies 2. Demonstrating critical engagement with the literature: Workshops on critical writing Cassily Charles – Academic Writing Coordinator (HDR students) | Academic Support
  15. 15. Critical writing Specific or general reference to the views/work of others, combined with Critical persuasive language Value-laden language, modality, Persuasive words referring to claims/views Abstract terms for groups or Analytical categories; language to show relationships between facts and ideas Descriptive Concrete terms for the objects of study; reference to sources Cassily Charles – Academic Writing Coordinator (HDR students) | Academic Support
  16. 16. Defining language features Value laden language: e.g. important, suitable, narrower, lack, omit, beneficial, Critical improvement Discipline-specific value laden language, e.g. Law: Rule of Law, judicial activism Persuasive Education: student-centred Anthropology: thick Modality: e.g. could, might, should – probably, possibly, clearly – likely, possible – probability, chance, risk, suggest, seem, appear, opportunity, need, important, etc. Words for views: agree, claim, suggest, argue, position, belief, etc. Cassily Charles – Academic Writing Coordinator (HDR students) | Academic Support
  17. 17. Defining language features Specific reference to the work of others: Critical e.g. the model of Gnyawali & Fogel (1994) Persuasive General or implicit reference to the work of others: e.g. the few studies that have examined PA; a historic reliance on positivist approaches Words for more than one opinion: e.g. disagree, debate, critique …PLUS persuasive language e.g. Phongsava, Merom et al. (2004) did not consider … Cassily Charles – Academic Writing Coordinator (HDR students) | Academic Support
  18. 18. The Onion 3. The Onion at CSU Examples: Scaffolding research literacies 2. Demonstrating critical engagement with the literature: Workshops on critical writing o Onion as a map of where critical writing sits o First pass: onion layers in terms of purpose o Second pass: onion layers in terms of language o Use the Onion to read some model research texts o Apply the Onion to participants’ own writing Cassily Charles – Academic Writing Coordinator (HDR students) | Academic Support
  19. 19. The Onion 3. The Onion at CSU People seem to find it helpful  • The onion model was particularly illuminating (much information in a relatively simple diagram). [Research candidate, CSU] • This is an idea that I teach over and over to my students and a model like this is just perfect. [Research supervisor, UNSW] Cassily Charles – Academic Writing Coordinator (HDR students) | Academic Support
  20. 20. The Onion Closing Any further comments, ideas or questions? ccharles@csu.edu.au Cassily Charles – Academic Writing Coordinator (HDR students) | Academic Support

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