Academic literacies work can be located in the broader area of literacies work (as stimulated by Brian Street, in particular) that regards writing as a social practice.
Academic Literacies: Writing in HE
This document is licensed under the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales license, available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc- sa/2.0/uk/.Academic literacies: writing in HE Dr Colleen McKenna University College London
Session aims-Explore theories and approaches to writing development in HE-Consider writing development in participants‟ own contexts (teaching, departmental)-Work with case studies which show how writing can be made visible and embedded in curricula-Think about our own writing practices
Background• Writing is often not explicitly addressed in HE teaching.• Frequently, the link between learning a subject and learning to write about that subject is not made.• The „deficit model‟ still prevails in much of HE. 3
Writing in the Disciplines(WiD) (1)• Writing is inseparable from intellectual development• Academic writing practices differ across subjects.• Writing development should be situated in the discipline.• Writing intensive courses are part of the curriculum.• Much emphasis is placed on feedback and dialogues between students and tutors.
WID (2)• Emphasis on process rather than product – Writing is part of learning, not simply the demonstration of learning• A WiD approach Involves a range of written forms• WiD views students as joining a conversation
WiD and making writing visible• Writing „disappears‟ with socialization in a discipline: „Writing becomes so embedded in activity that it tends to disappear as an object of conscious attention. As it becomes routine, we forget that we once had to learn to write in specialized ways‟. (David Russell)
Exercise 1: Free writingThink of a time when you had to engage with a new set of writing conventions. (eg. new discipline, new language, new area of study/work.)Please write about this, using a free writing technique, for 3 minutes. (Your piece won‟t be read aloud.)
Academic Literacies• UK researchers - Lea and Street - 1998 – Investigated writing practices in different disciplines• social science (new literacies movement) rather than humanities• Highly influential in approaches to writing development in UK
Models of student writing – Lea & Street, 2000• Study skills – Deficit model – Student writing as technical skill• Academic socialisation – Acculturation of students into academic discourse – Writing as transparent medium• Academic literacies – Writing as social practice – Power, identity – Discourse communities
Academic literacies • Ability to use written language is not a single skill • Literacies can be developed and extended by participating in social activities which require their use. • Entering a new cultural context will involve a new phase of literacy development • Developing and extending ability to use written language never ends • Ivanic 1997
Questions for discussion1. Where does writing development features in your curricula?2. Where would you situate your department‟s approach to student writing in relation to findings of Lea and Street?
Writing • Embodies and constructs knowledge (see WiD) • Is always situated or located in specific contexts • Involves social and institutional relationships and constraints • Is associated with issues of identity. 15
Writing as social practiceAcademic literacy is not a neutral,unproblematic skill which studentssimply have to acquire, butmultiple, complex and contestedset of social practices whichshould be given more explicit andcritical attention by all members ofthe academic community.- Roz Ivanic Writing and Identity
Writing and identity„I‟ve got to identify where I stand in the [...] framework of the research and how my research slots in, and contributes to the literature […] so I see my literature review now as more [of] a finely honed contribution, developing academic authority, making a contribution to the discipline.‟ DSLT student A„this is my research, I‟ve seen this in my data, this is relevant, this is how I’m going to say it.‟ DSLT student B(Research with PhD writers, Fergie et al, 2012)
Writing exercise : Please takeyour piece of writing and makenotes on its history, context andproduction… •What areas of knowledge and sources were you drawing on? •How did you set about writing it? •Where were you when you wrote it? •What was it for? Who was it for? •What happened to it? •What did you think of it then? •What do you think of it now? 18
What do these ideasmean for practice(s)?• Middle ground pedagogy – Art Young/Sally Mitchell• Writing and thinking – John Bean• Case studies – Queen Mary • Modern Languages – UCL • Doctorate in Speech and Language Therapy- DSLT, Suzanne Beeke
Writing process/product continuum Open Closed Generating, Finished Form: Testing Assessment Questioning Private Public Process Product Feedback Redrafting, Revision Peer reviewUnderexploited Overused inin learning? learning? Sally Mitchell, 2006, drawing on Art Young
Linking writing and critical thinking“Writing is both a process ofdoing critical thinking and aproduct communicating theresults of critical thinking.” “Homework and other activities for a course should engage students in complex thinking about significant problems. To accomplish this end, teachers need to structure activities to help students become personally engaged with questions addressed by the course.” John C. Bean (2001)
Case Study 1: QMUL … It means writing in the class - from warm-up exercises („what do you want to find out today?‟) to analytical summaries - one sentence, one paragraph, one page. It means short homework assignments - say, a 300-word account of the seminar, to be shared in the next session. It means a writing journal. More formally, it means two 1000-word assignments, which count towards the final assessment - but here the crucial thing is that these will be discussed, self-assessed and peer reviewed and then re- written… (Fernandez and Marsh, 2002, cited in Mitchell, 2006)
Case study 2: UCL• Module on writing a PhD integrated into Professional doctorate in Speech and Language Therapy (DSLT)• Runs through the 2nd year• Regular meetings, writing tasks, peer and tutor feedback• Addresses theoretical and practical issues• Located in WiD and Ac Lits paradigms
Case Study 2: coursetopics • Thinking writing and learning journals • Reading and evaluating • Note taking • Communicating with the reader: writing for different purposes • Developing an argument • Purpose, focus and structure of the literature review • Style • Writing and Identity: Putting yourself into your writing • Editing
• Please look through the case studies. Which of these approaches might be possible in your teaching?• How might you create space in your curricula to address writing and learning?
• What interesting writing tasks are used in your department?
Approaches to writingdevelopment in HE Writing and the discipline (Monroe, Russell) Writing as social practice (Lea & Street) Writing and identity/voice (Ivanic) Writing as dialogue; multilingual authors and politics of anglophone journals (Lillis) Thinking through writing (Elbow, Creme) Writing and digital literacies (Goodfellow and Lea) Writing and power (Clark and Ivanic; Blommaert ) Academic literacies as an alternative model for learning and teaching (Haggis)
“The experience of pleasure is interesting. What both the diversification of writing practices and the closer attention to students‟ writing appear to do is to change the communicative relation between teacher and student. The teacher who consciously sets up opportunities for writing and pays attention to its purpose and value moves into a closer engagement with the learner. . . Students as a result, it seems, become more capable of positively surprising their teachers, and bringing about disruption to the established pattern of communication …” -Sally Mitchell, 2006
References• Bean, John C. (1996) Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking and Active Learning in the Classroom. Jossey-Bass.• Elbow, P. (1998) Writing without Teachers. OUP.• Fernandez and Marsh 2002 cited in Mitchell, S. & Evison, A. (2006) Exploiting the potential of writing for educational change at Queen Mary, University of London. L. Ganobcsik-Williams (ed.) Teaching Academic Writing in UK Higher Education.• Fergie, G.; Beeke, S.; McKenna, C. and Creme, P. (to appear 2012) „Designing, piloting and evaluating a module to support doctoral research students in speech and language therapy‟. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.
References• Goodfellow, R. and Lea, M (2007) Challenging e-Learning in the University: a Literacies Approach. SRHE/Open University Press.• Haggis, T. (2003) Constructing images of ourselves? A critical investigation into approaches to learning research in higher education, British Educational Research Journal, 34 (1) pp.89-104.• Lea, M. R. & Street, B. V. (1998) Student writing in higher education: an academic literacies approach. Studies in Higher Education, 23 (2), 157-172.• Lea, M. R. & Stierer, B. (2000) Student Writing in Higher Education: New Contexts. Buckingham: Open University Press/SRHE.
References• Mitchell, S. & Evison, A. (2006) Exploiting the potential of writing for educational change at Queen Mary, University of London. L. Ganobcsik-Williams (ed.) Teaching Academic Writing in UK Higher Education.• Monroe, J. (2006) Local Knowledges, Local Practices: Writing in the Disciplines at Cornell. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.• David Russel l(2005) Institute of Education. "Writing in the Disciplines and the institutional practice of mystery." Institute of Education, Universityof London. London, November 2005.
References• Russell, David R.; Lea, Mary; Parker, Jan; Street, Brian and Donahue, Tiane (2009). Exploring notions of genre in academic literacies and writing across the curriculum: approaches across countries and contexts. In: Bazerman, Charles; Bonini, Adair and Figueiredo, Débora eds. Genre in a Changing World. Perspectives on Writing. Colorado: WAC Clearinghouse/Parlor Press, pp. 459–491.• Thinking Writing - http://www.thinkingwriting.qmul.ac.uk/• Young , Art (1999) Teaching Writing Across the Curriculum, Third Edition. Prentice Hall Resources for Writing, Upper Saddle River, NJ,