Becoming w6 academic_writing#1 Starts with Academic Writing workshop
Writing is easy – you just stare at a blank piece of paper till
your eyeballs bleed!
• What are your hopes and fears about
University level writing?
Reflecting on the activity
What we can do ...
Each person should have in front of them:
• Two sheets of paper:
• One, ‘Writing’ - blank, to write upon,
• Two, ‘Commentary’ - to note reasons for not
• Pens or pencils
• When asked, turn to your ‘Writing’ page
and write for ten 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 ten minutes write on:
Winnicott (1971) argued that play is
necessary to counteract the implicit
threat that occurs when we are in
transitional spaces – between worlds,
between classes, in alien educational
settings. Discuss in relation either to
becoming a successful student or
becoming a successful teacher.
Reflection (1) What was your reaction to that writing?
Some reasons for stopping:
Searching for a word, spelling, tense
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 – redraft and improve later
• Leave gaps – read more after writing.
• What do you like about your own academic
What staff say:
I discover what I’m thinking
I never quite know where it’s going
I puzzle out my ideas
It’s an exploration
I am concise and effective
I try to be helpful and useful
It’s teasing out my thinking
I’m incredibly organised
I just plunge in and see where it goes
I am still not sure if my work is
considered academic, I still don’t know
what makes one of my essays better
I have been humiliated in ways
that I would never have put up
with any where else!
Academic language, the kind of language that
doesn’t readily flow off my tongue: the type of
language I rarely use when speaking to my
peers. The type of language that I don’t
readily understand and the type of language
that means spending hours at a computer
turning something quite simple into
something that sounds moderately impressive
with elitist results.
Safe spaces to write
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…
• Peter Elbow (1998) argues that free-writing
encourages us to write at length without fear
of censorship ...
• Frees us to explore a topic
• Encourages understanding
• Focusses on having something to say - with
• Spelling & grammar (3 min) ... The least
Half hour writing every day!
•Keep/enjoy a Reading Dossier
•Summarise an argument
•Explain a concept
•Apply a theory
•Start a chapter
•Keep a learning journal.....
EXCELLENT site for linking phrases and for WRITING:
Ten steps: http://prezi.com/cbaj9e5kised/copy-of-ten-stages-of-assignment-success/
Academic writing month:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/higher-education-network/blog/2012/nov/01/academic-writing-monthThe writing pages on the Study Hub – with PACKS!:
750 Words: it does what it says on the tin:
Written Kitten – new kitten every 100 words!
Essay planning animation – Portsmouth:
Our writing mini-site:
Our Preventing Plagiarism course (also in WebLearn):