Thursday, 23 June 2005
11.00-12.15 Parallel Workshops
Blythman, Margo - London College of Communication, UK
Bräuer, Gerd - Writing Center, University of Education, Germany
Mullin, Joan - University of Texas at Austin, USA
Ryan , Leigh - The Writing Center, University of Maryland, USA
Richards , Rose - Writing Lab, Language Centre, South Africa
Stassen , Ingrid - Department of Business Communication, Radboud University, The Netherlands
Boeschoten, Vincent - University Language and Communication Centre, Radboud University, The Netherlands
Skillen, Jan - Learning Development, University of Wollongong, Australia
Communication Strategies: Convincing the Institution, Academics, and Students of the Value of Writing Support
No matter how writing support occurs, convincing our institution, colleagues and students of the value of what we do presents particular challenges for all of us. Presenters will each focus on one of the groups of constituents with whom we work and outline a key communication problem they faced with that group; explain the research, theoretical base and strategies they used to resolve it, and describe the outcome that resulted. Each will place their descriptions within their particular educational context so participants will be able to adapt or revise strategies for their own contexts in small discussion groups that will follow the presentations. Each group, facilitated by a presenter acting as recorder, will report ideas generated to the larger group at the end of the session.
Coit , Caroline
Universität Münster , Germany
Online Peer Review Made Easy: Introducing the PCS-Tool
This workshop is intended to introduce the participants to the peer correction system tool ( PCS-Tool), which can be used for setting-up, organizing, and carrying out online peer review. The tool can be used by instructors in regular as well as online classes and can easily be adapted to facilitate exchanges between classes within a school or from school to school. In the first half of the workshop, the participants will be given the opportunity to actually carry out an assignment online using the tool so that they will then be in a better position to discuss the pros and cons of the system based on their experiences. The second part of the workshop will be spent discussing the theoretical and practical value of the system and brainstorming for possible uses of it in courses at the participants’ schools or universities. If so desired, participants will also be given the opportunity to set up contacts for possible exchanges. The tool is an open source and is, therefore, open and free to all who are interested in making use of it without having to download it on a home server.
Dilaveri, Evi - Skarmaliorakis, Emmanuella
The Writing Center, Deree College & The Junior College, The American College of Greece
More Than Writing at the Writing Center?
Leahy (1990) describes the role of a writing center as often “unclear” and notes that members of a college community often hold “differing notions” about this role. While writing centers struggle to establish their position and define their role, new trends in college organization complicate this process. Ballou (1997) points out that many colleges and universities have been reorganizing student services to respond more efficiently to student needs. These changes and uncertainties are felt even more strongly by new writing centers like the American College of Greece Writing Centers. In recent years, the American College of Greece, which does not have an Academic Skills Center, offered a mandatory non-credit course called Orientation to College, mostly taught by members of the English Department. As the First-Year Program at ACG evolves, writing center tutors with experience teaching Orientation to College have been asked to offer a series of workshops on academic skills.
Although we are not education or learning skills specialists but members of the English department and writing center tutors, we always had a strong interest in the subject of academic skills development so we became involved with teaching Orientation to College and with preparing and offering workshops on academic skills. In our roundtable discussion we would like to describe how writing center tutors prepare and conduct these workshops. We would like to share our concerns about the effectiveness of this endeavor and the role of the writing center in the area of academic success skills.
Fredrick , Daniel
Department of English, American University in Bulgaria , Bulgaria
Test-Driving a Forgotten Classical Heuristic ( Cicero’s Sextet Method for Writing in the Humanities)
I would like to introduce teachers to a neglected heuristic for writing and critical thinking invented and used by Marcus Tullius Cicero in court trial preparations. The heuristic is a six-part exercise which forces the writer to analyze texts from different perspectives. This workshop will fit in theme 5 under the sub category of “new teaching and tutoring models. The primary goal of my workshop is to offer another skill in invention that teachers can pass on to their students. My secondary goals are to alert teachers to continue researching the ancient rhetorical treatises to find practical methods for teaching literacy, for the era has much more to offer than what has been captured in the three leading composition textbooks on classical rhetoric (Corbett, Crowley, Horner) as D’ Angelo’s latest comp text (focusing on the progymnasmata) proves. The conclusion is that Cicero’s heuristic works for every discipline in which assertions must be demonstrated. Thus, it can work across the disciplines.
Beittel , Mark
Scuola di Studi Internazionali, Università di Trento, Italy
Book Reviews as a Meta-genre for Graduate Students
Book reviews are a vital form of academic discourse, not only because of the influence they may exert on the success of specific books, but also because of the critical role they play in the system of knowledge creation and dissemination. By reducing publication costs and lags, the web has probably increased the importance of book reviews. It is thus not surprising that graduate students are often asked to write reviews as course assignments and for publication.
I would suggest that book reviews are an undervalued genre in teaching academic writing. Going beyond the “how to” variety of advice usually offered by writing guides, I will present activities that treat reviews as a meta-genre—a genre that is particularly valuable in helping students focus on the generic aspects of texts and in providing them with an entry point into more complex genres. Through a process of systematic comparison, students become acquainted with the linguistic elements of reviews in their areas of specialization and begin to grasp the crucial interplay among audience, purpose, organization, and authorial stance.
Participants will evaluate the distributed materials and assess their applicability to contexts other than the international studies program for which they were designed.
12.25-13.00 Parallel Presentations
Ardington , Angela
Learning Centre , University of Sydney , Australia
Stance Taking in Reporting Verbs in a Critical Review Writing Task
Many international students from non-English speaking backgrounds are confronted with significant challenges in the writing they need to do in their studies in Australia. They may be unfamiliar with the linguistic and rhetorical conventions of western academic genres, yet mastery of these devices in English is requisite. The discussion or interpretation of findings of (other) research is one such section in which stance-taking is expected, where, to some extent, findings can be created through argumentation. The focus of this paper is the writer’s use of reporting verbs as linguistic resources to project their stance and adopt an appropriate critical voice. The contribution of reporting and attribution structures to evaluation in areas of modality and negation through information ‘packaging’ is explored. The study shows clear preferences of certain denotational reporting verbs and underuse of evaluational speech act verbs. It is suggested that an initial identification and typologizing of reporting verbs in terms of degrees of affect, certainty and doubt expressed in reporting verbs may, through directed instruction, assist student writers in projecting an informed and convincing evaluative stance through a heightened awareness of the interplay of metadiscourse.
Beaufort , Anne
Program in Writing and Rhetoric, State University of New York, Stony Brook, USA
Do Writing Skills Transcend Cultures? A Look at Writing Expertise
Can writing skills be viewed as universal, transcending disciplinary and national influences? Or are they specific to more local contexts? Drawing from my social-science based research--two case studies, one of writers new to workplace writing demands, and the other, of a writer in a US post-secondary institution-- I will present the hypothesis that key aspects of writing skills are both universal and context-specific (Beaufort, 1999; Beaufort, 2004). I will propose an expanded theoretical model of writing expertise, encompassing more aspects of successful written communication than earlier models (Flower and Hays, 1981; Bereiter and Scardemalia, 1987). Specifically, I will demonstrate from the research data a five-part schema of sub-skills that are essential to writing expertise: discourse community knowledge, subject matter knowledge; genre knowledge; rhetorical knowledge; and writing process knowledge. These, I argue, are universal sub-skills and they incorporate context-specific differences. If this framework of sub-skills is used to frame curriculum and pedagogy, teachers can aid students in understanding more readily how to write in different genres and different discourse communities in school and workplace settings.
On the other hand, not to be dismissed are the cultural expectations for persuasive texts. I will also briefly review the literature on contrastive rhetorics that accounts for differences in discourse style that are rooted in cultural expectations (Kaplan, 1966; Connor, 1996) as well as the differences between continental and Anglo-American academic discourse (Rienecker and Jorgensen, 2003) I will also suggest ways of helping students to understand how cultural and discourse community norms shape written texts so that they can become flexible writers, able to adapt to changing social contexts for writing.
Canizales, Antonio - Galan, Rosa Margarita
Language Centre , Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico, Mexico
Creating Cross-cultural Awareness: A Challenge for TESL
Students should learn academic writing in English as a second language, like translation, from a cultural perspective. Linguistic aspects are essential, but welcoming the foreign culture and acquiring language awareness make it more fruitful. Instructors should help students reach a transcultural environment and make them go beyond their own culture to universalize their academic texts using the foreign language as an essential tool. ESL teachers are at risk of designing a series of formulae in syntax or prescriptive methodologies in writing. Consequently, this leads to framing students in specific protocols and writing conventions when producing texts.
Deconstructing students’ native culture and making them embrace a foreign one help ESL instructors build the necessary bridge that enables students to develop various skills, allowing them not only to successfully produce compositions that meet academic writing standards, but also to strengthen abilities like critical reading and text analysis.
Based on the works of D. Cassany ( Spain), and on the experience of the Language Centre of ITAM, the purpose of this presentation is to focus on the importance of creating cross-cultural awareness in ESL students, and the challenges faced by professors in the classroom.
Roberts Learning Center , University of Maine-Farmington , USA
Resisting Contrastive Rhetoric: The Cross-cultural Discourse of Academic Apprenticeship
Growing attention to the academic writing of various post-secondary institutions across cultures has led to a plethora of comparative analyses in recent years. These have been detrimental to a productive theoretical understanding of students’ university discourses in different countries, as have been some of the contrastive analyses of various disciplinary discourses developed by WAC/WiD theorists.
As an active member of universities in both France and the United States, I have carried out extensive discourse analysis of student texts across these cultures. I propose to present an overview of the methods and results of this analysis. In particular, I will show that student discourse is its own discourse, with identifiable ways of doing its work, negotiating its construction in the “contact zones” of various university settings, whether courses in writing or courses in which disciplinary writing is required or taught. I will suggest that university students across cultures share this discourse of academic apprenticeship, and that we need to recognize the discourse and learn to read it in all of its complexity, rather than considering it an approximation of an “expert” academic discourse or furthering the sedimentation fostered by detailing only surface linguistic and rhetorical differences among different cultural groups.
Dressen Hammouda, Dacia
Faculté des Langues Appliquées, Commerce et Communication, Université Blaise Pascal, Clermont II, France
Adapting Process-oriented Writing Approaches to Cross-cultural Contexts
The process-oriented aspects of Writing for Academic Purposes are well-established within decades of research in applied linguistics, North American rhetoric and composition pedagogy. Various approaches to teaching process writing include increasing students’ integral genre awareness (Swales & Feak 1994, 2000; Johns 1997); fostering an appreciation of writing genres as an ongoing, rhetorical process (Elbow & Belanoff 1989a; Freedman & Medway 1994; Hyland & Richards 2003); and an insistance upon dialogue as a means for developing discoursal competence (Harris 1986; Elbow & Belanoff 1989b).
However, the approach also relies heavily on the learning and teaching conditions characteristic of Anglo-Saxon communities, raising issues of compatibility when used in cross-cultural contexts. For example, some of the approach’s underlying assumptions are based on expectations of autonomy, perceived social relationships, and human communication as facilitating cooperation. It is argued that such cultural schemas come into direct conflict when the approach is used in other cultures.
This paper will assess the process approach to teaching WAP in the French university system. It describes efforts by this researcher, trained in North American process/genre methods, to adapt the approach to French students’ expectations. After highlighting areas of divergence and identifying shared generalities, it will discuss implications for EAP in general.
ICELS, O xford Brookes University, UK
What Is It about Other People's Words?
Most students in higher education need to understand how to incorporate the words of others in academic writing. But published materials for teaching citation (and the avoidance of plagiarism) tend to be mechanistic – e.g. models of paraphrasing, or techniques for creating a bibliography. There is an assumption that explaining the rules (accuracy) will lead to fluency and understanding. But superficial proficiency in citation techniques does not equate with understanding the complex rationale behind citation practices, nor, for non-native students especially, with confidence in new writing culture practices. Citation knowledge is not straightforward; even within a culture textual borrowing practices are inconsistent (Pennycook 1996:212). We need writing instruction methods that will allow students to experiment, interact, or ask questions about citation in their own work in process. This paper will report on an EAP writing class experimenting with on-line learner discussion groups and logbooks to bring students to reflect upon and question their own and each others’ use of citation , how and why others’ words might be integrated into their own writing purposes. We will review whether these materials might have contributed to students’ deeper understanding of citation in text and ways of avoiding plagiarism in the text-production process.
14.10-14.45 Parallel Presentations
Janik , Christina
Institute for Slavistics , University of Hamburg , Germany
Teaching Evidentiality. Cross-cultural Differences in Use of Evidential Markers
In academic writing we generally expect information to be qualified by expressions of source or speaker commitment to the truth of the information ( Nash 1990), coded linguistically by modal words (probably, certainly) as well as references to research literature ( Meyer 1990). However, the actual use of such evidential markers (Chafe 1986) in academic texts seems to vary cross-culturally.
Recent results of a contrastive study of Russian and German academic articles shall be presented here as well as samples of Russian students’ writing in German. As the data suggest, evidentiality is less frequently explicitly marked in texts from writers with a Russian educational background and sources tend to be more often underspecified than in German texts, e.g. in referring to general knowledge by kak izvestno (‘as is commonly known‘). Further research literature shows similar differences for Slavonic vs. English academic writing (e.g. Vassileva 1998).
Suggestions shall be made with respect to consequences for academic writing instruction. It seems necessary to raise international students’ awareness of possibly differing writing conventions in this particular aspect so that they won’t be criticised for insufficient academic proficiency, while all they are doing is following different writing conventions they brought from their home universities.
Department of Foreign Languages, Narva College, Tartu University, Estonia
Transfer in Academic Texts of Non-English Writers
The presentation explores the distinction between Teutonic intellectual traditions (Galtung 1985) and Saxonic writing conventions, and, in particular, its role in intercultural communication. Each of the two styles has its characteristic features: patterns of argumentation (Kaplan 1972, Clyne 1985), reader friendliness and text organization (Mauranen 1993, Ventola 1994). Writers belonging to either academic writing culture always consider the conventions of the respective academic style and feel comfortable in their own cultural space. However, as, with the ever-increasing role of the English language in the academic world, the mastery in the Saxonic style is becoming crucial for researchers, transfer from their own style into their interlanguage writing turns into a major source of problems.
The presentation analyzes the most frequent instances of transfer in academic texts, i.e. the examples of influence of the mother tongue, as well as the influence of Teutonic style, in which the writers were trained at higher educational institutions, on their writing in English. The texts under analysis are both unedited articles of senior students of the Humanities and published articles of authors from post-Soviet states.
The conclusions will shed some light on the most troublesome areas for the writers of academic texts in English and suggest ways on how to avoid sounding too foreign in academic articles written in English.
Department of Applied Linguistics and Cultural Studies, Zurich University of Applied Science, Switzerland
From Academic Writing to Science Communication: Towards a Wider View of Knowledge Reporting
The term “academic writing” tends to attribute uniformity and consistency to writing, where in reality heterogeneity reigns. Using the term “communication” instead, may help to understand the tasks of writers in a broader context and relate writing to the different communicative tasks within, across and outside the disciplines. Popularisation of knowledge has long been an important issue for sciences and humanities, but has scarcely been integrated into the theory and practice of academic writing. A closer look at popularisation shows that knowledge has to be popularised not only to the non-academic public, but also between and even within the disciplines. I will present results from an interview study with scholars and scientists demonstrating the broad range of communicative tasks they are facing. The data suggest a model of knowledge reporting that addresses the whole spectrum of text communication from discourses within highly specialised research communities on one hand to science reporting in the mass media on the other hand. Consequences for the teaching of academic writing will be discussed.
Kutieleh, Salah - Student Learning Centre, Flinders University , Australia
Morgan , Douglas L. - Indigenous College of Education and Research, University of South Australia, Australia
International Students: A Template for Acafemic Writing in Western Contexts
The increased effort to attract international students to Australian universities has largely occurred without a corresponding accommodation of their diverse writing styles, though the subject has been much debated among academics as to whether or not this is desirable. To international students’ cost, the numerous books, designed to develop Western academic writing skills, have failed to approach the task from a non-Western perspectives. The authors approach is a simplified, systematic, student-centred, culturally- neutral method that does not supersede the students previously developed writing styles/structures. The developed approach comprises of three organic stages, broken into steps that allow students to proactively engage in the production of academic writing through a template of behaviours that apply to their own circumstances. It readily allows the student to recognise the writing production stages so that they can identify and seek specific assistance when required, or move to the next step in the academic writing process. The student can be easily supported in this process as the steps are consistently and systematically applied, increasing both the students’ confidence in their ability to function in the new alien environment and the ability of educationalists to perform in a cross-cultural context in which some may feel threatened.
Laane, Mare-Anne - Language Centre, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia
Tammelo, Eda - Language Centre, University of Tartu, Estonia
Rhetorical and Cultural Differences in LAP: English and Estonian
Drawing on studies in contrastive rhetoric (Connor 1996, Kaplan 1988, Mauranen 1992, etc), the paper discusses rhetorical and cultural differences in English and Estonian written academic discourse, proceeding from the view that logic and rhetoric are interdependent as well as culture-specific and learners’ mother tongue interferes with their EAP writing. The issue to be explored is what areas in English academic writing of Estonian learners are most affected by Estonian cultural and language conventions. On the basis of an analysis of graduate students’ written work, suggestions are made for teaching English academic writing and for improving the quality of writing in the context of Estonian tertiary level education.
Law, lai-yi, Lilian - Lai, sui-yee, Rachel]
English Language Education and Assessment Centre (ELEAC), Lingnan University, Hong Kong, China
Constructing Academic Integrity through Learning-oriented Assessments: An Exploratory Study
This study focuses on learning oriented assessments in process writing which offer different forms and levels of scaffolding to first year students at a University in Hong Kong, as an attempt to equip them with the skills to use sources appropriately in academic writing. Specifically, it aims to (a) analyze the types of inappropriate use of source texts in two different assessment modes, (b) find out the correlation between types of inappropriate use of source texts and assessment modes, and (c) identify problems and difficulties students have in using source materials.
Text-based analyses based on a coding scheme developed by Ling Shi (2004) will be performed with the help of WCopyfind Version 2.5* to identify the major categories of textual borrowing in two sets of randomly selected student essays done in two different assessment contexts. In addition, in-depth interviews will be conducted with the students on the problems and difficulties they encounter in using source texts in academic writing. The interviews will be transcribed for detail analysis.
We hope the approach we experimented in this project will provide insights on how to progressively prepare students for academic writing, and to design assessments that enable students to achieve academic integrity.
14.55-15.30 Parallel Presentations
Manney , Linda
American College of Thessaloniki , Greece
Close Encounters: Multicultural Education and the Academic English Writing Class
My proposed talk begins with a selective review of current scholarship in multicultural education (McLaren 2003; Kumaravadivelu 1999; Nieto 2002), focusing on practical applications of key tenets to academic writing instruction. First, I clarify the definition of multicultural education as a reform movement grounded in anti-racist philosophy and framed within a context of social justice. I also show how multicultural education aims to expose students to a variety of viewpoints, including those of people who have traditionally been disempowered in the larger society. I then outline a curricular design for EAP (English for Academic Purposes) which makes use of ideas summarized above. Students read and respond to a number of influential writings, including a discussion of Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy, a speech and a philosophical essay by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., selections from a novel by a Jewish Israeli writer, and an auto-ethnography written by a Palestinian Israeli. As students read and discuss the texts, they are led through a series of writing assignments, culminating in a research essay on a personal experience with or first-hand knowledge of racial discrimination. Such exercises help students develop compassion and empathy for a wider range of people, thus enhancing their intellectual and social flexibility.
Markelova, Svitlana - Kaluzhna, Halyna
Foreign Languages Department for the Humanities, National Ivan Franko University of L'viv , Ukraine
Taking Part in International Conferences: Focus on Academic Writing Skills
Though academic writing skills are of paramount importance for researchers willing to present at international conferences, this type of skills has never been explicitly taught at post-soviet universities. This paper attempts to analyze a series of workshops “Taking Part in International Conferences: a Focus on Academic Writing Skills” delivered by the presenters to Ukrainian researchers.
We intend to show how helpful advice was provided to potential presenters through interactive activities aimed at highlighting the challenges they may possibly face. Then we will focus on the process of practicing the initial skills of conference abstract writing with the emphasis on rhetorical moves necessary to produce a successful conference abstract: outlining the research filed, justifying a particular research, introducing the paper to be presented, summarizing the paper, highlighting its outcome (Yakhontova, 2002). Finally, the feedback of the audience will be presented, which will demonstrate the peculiarities of culture specific attitudes to writing of Ukrainian learners.
Though we make a specific reference to the Ukrainian context, the pedagogical strategies under discussion may be applicable to other settings. Finally, a broader question is discussed: in what way raising metacognitive awareness in the process of genre specific writing makes one’s written products successful.
McCormick , Susan
Department of English, Ventura Unified Schools , USA
The Investigative Word Web
THE INVESTIGATIVE WORD WEB is a pre-writing strategy, addressing Theme 4 or 5. This teaching practice deals with cross-cultural differences and was developed to meet the needs of L-2 learners experiencing difficulty with writing. Their challenges include, having a limited knowledge of the writing process, a limited knowledge of the English language, and a lack of self-confidence due to previously unsuccessful writing experiences. I challenge my students to think of themselves as investigators using the words of investigative reporters. My previously unenthusiastic pupils began to write well-structured essays.
I have found this technique to work successfully with students at any grade or ability level, including second language students, those having learning difficulties and college-preparatory students. The INVESTIGATIVE WORD WEB can be used in many genres, including the summarization of news articles and writing narrative, persuasive and personal essays. This strategy helps students to stay focused, think cognitively and become more relaxed and confident in their writing abilities.
McKnight , Alex
Language and Learning Services, Centre for Learning and Teaching Support, Monash University, Australia
International Students Writing Science: Preparation and Reality
In common with universities around the world, Australian universities are becoming increasingly dependent on fee income from international students. International applicants to Australian universities are required to provide evidence of their proficiency in the use of English, and a common requirement is for undergraduate applicants to have a minimum overall band score of 6.0 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). In order to be successful in their studies students require the ability to use the linguistic conventions of different discourse communities, which vary from faculty to faculty and from discipline to discipline within the same faculty (Bhatia, Candlin and Hyland, 1997), and many students experience difficulty with the demands of first year assignments (Street, 1999; Krause, 2001). Based on qualitative interviews with teachers in the faculty of science of a large Australian university, and discussion of a sample of student writing, this paper will examine the views of academic staff on the literacy skills required for their disciplines and the extent to which international students meet those requirements. Implications for teaching scientific writing to international students will be discussed.
Michalchuk , Gloria
Department of Secondary Education , University of Alberta , Canada
Academic Writing as a Limiting Social Construct: A Feminist Perspective
Academic Writing as a multi-layered social construct functions not only as a value-laden assessment and learning tool, but as a multi-dimensional prism that shapes our perception and view of the world. I will argue that the structure of classical academic writing as well as the language it necessitates limits our access to a balanced view of the ways in which we as human beings construct meaning in our everyday life. By dissecting personal from public and embodied from theoretical knowledge, we not only distance ourselves from our selves, but limit our ability to grow (Cixous, Lorde, Elbow). Within the context of second language classrooms, I will argue from Feminist perspectives and writing pedagogy that alternate forms of expression, such a creative non-fiction can function not only as s vehicle for language learning and assessment for learning, but as a forum through which the complexities of cultures bumping up against each other can be negotiated (Kristeva, Grumet, Lugones).
Mustafa, Jamilah - Dato Abdul Hamid, Bahiyah - Stapa, Siti Hamim - Lee, Siew Chin
School of Language Studies, Faculty of social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan, Malaysia
Academic Writing: Whose Constructs? Tutors' or Students'?
Most academic programmes at tertiary level require a thesis or at least a project paper as partial requirement in obtaining a degree. To fulfill this requirement, students are asked to write a thesis from about 12,000 to 100,000 words depending on the level of the degree pursued and the requirement of each academic institution. In a context where English is an important second language, more emphasis is given to the teaching and learning of the language. Thus, language teachers and lecturers were encouraged to pursue their post-graduate studies in different universities in the UK, USA, Australia or New Zealand. Some do theirs locally or in neighbouring countries such as Singapore or the Philippines. Many were exposed to different writing cultures, styles and linguistics conventions which they in turn use when supervising students at the various institutions they work in. Keeping that in mind, this paper investigates students’ academic writing constructs at the undergraduate level doing their BA in English Language Studies at the National University of Malaysia. It seeks to find out whether students who, after being exposed to research methodology and academic writing courses use their own constructs or the lecturers’ in their writing.
The study uses the personal construct theory using a repertory grid and interviews with the informants in seeking answers to the study. It is hoped that the study will contribute to a standardized convention a standard form of assessment for their theses.
Reiss, Donna - Department of English, Clemson University , USA
Gustafsson, Magnus - Department of Language and Communication, Chalmers Lindholmen University College, Sweden
Young, Art - Department of English, Clemson University , USA
Academic Writing Online: Crossing Cultures, Courses, Languages, and Educational Levels
Addressing the conference theme of cross-cultural issues in the teaching of writing, we present a model for online discussions of academic subject matter by students from three diverse cultures and institutions (two in the U.S. and one in Sweden). Students participated in an online discussion of four published English translations of one Swedish poem by Tomas Transtr ömer. On a Web discussion board and writing in English with references to Swedish words and phrases, students explored the language of different translations and the ways that readers’ understanding of writing is affected by their own cultural experiences and by reading each others’ reflections and analyses.
Through the conversational discourse of online discussions, students demonstrated their understanding of rhetorical features such as audience, purpose, and voice as well as their understanding of writing for various genres and media. In this “new community of critical and creative discourse” ( Stuart Moulthrop and Nancy Kaplan, “ Something To Imagine: Literature, Composition, and Interactive Fiction,” 8), our students learned about writing, reading, literature, translation, interpretation, culture, technology, and each other. Our presentation will include a model for designing such cross-cultural online activities and suggestions for further research and development into the discourse features of conversational and academic writing.
Szerdahelyi , Judith
Department of English, Western Kentucky University , USA
Online Assessment Horror Stories: Is Ensuring Academic Integrity Virtually Impossible?
As Melissa Olt, Dan Carnevale, Leonard Shyles, and other distance education scholars point out, the issue of student assessment and academic integrity continues to be a hot topic among faculty and administrators of online writing courses. Although cheating as a trans-national and trans-disciplinary phenomenon has been widely discussed in connection with traditional courses, the technology-based virtual environment raises additional concerns. Since constant monitoring during an online test is usually not feasible outside of a proctored environment, students might use resources that are not allowed during the test and thus violate academic integrity. Some questions that online instructors need to think about when planning online assessment measures are the following. Do test results reflect students’ skills and abilities? Is technology reliable enough to evaluate students’ knowledge accurately and fairly? Does advanced technology ensure academic integrity or does it only make student cheating more efficient and innovative? This presentation addresses these issues and provides solutions to problems with student evaluation, including how to prevent or minimize violations of academic integrity. In addition to offering innovative approaches and new strategies to assessing students’ performance in web courses, this paper includes testimonies of online assessment (horror) stories shared by students and instructors in interviews and surveys.
Robbs , Michael
Center for Applied Linguistics and Language Studies (CALLS), Hellenic American Union, Greece
Teaching Academic Writing Skills to Young Learners
In Greece, the average age of candidates taking formal international English language examinations is falling. All the examinations involve a formal writing component, which is often beyond the capabilities of young learners as they do not receive the necessary training. However, it is possible to give young learners a foundation in academic writing skills which will prepare them not only for examinations but also for future academic settings. Because young learners have immediate needs, they do not see the relevance of the need to adopt academic writing skills for higher education in the future. However, they can be motivated if they are made aware of the communicative purpose of their writing. This foundation can be laid through a synthesis of the top-down and bottom-up approaches to writing. Young learners can be presented with typical organisational patterns which are relevant to their interests and the types of material they read. Such material might come from, but is not limited to, e-mails, SMSs, comics and magazines. Young learners can also be helped to develop their language system knowledge, necessary for writing such texts, by being given activities ranging from controlled to open-ended exercises. Through this combination of an intellectual/rhetorical approach and a social/genre approach, as summarised by Tribble 1996, academic writing skills can be developed from an early age.
16.00-16.35 Parallel Presentations
Hellenic Airforce Academy , Greece
Teaching Writing: Cross-linguistic and Cross-cultural Perspectives
Research in various areas of linguistics, sociolinguistics, discourse analysis and teaching methodology (Blum-Kulka 1982, 1983; Coffin 2004; Cohen and Olshtain 1993; Coulmas 1981; Dendrinos 1984, 1986; Holmes 1992, 1995; Papaefthymiou-Lytra 1990; Shuck and Paxton 2002; Symeon 1994, 2000; Thomas 1983) has emphasized the social role of language, which can be viewed as a way of social behaviour. This role has greatly affected foreign language teachers, who do not only transmit knowledge of the language to be learnt, but also help their students use this language appropriately in specific situations overcoming problems arising from the socio-cultural differences between the native language and the foreign language. Such problems can be traced in all areas of language learning, i.e. reading, writing, listening and speaking.
In this paper, an attempt is made to identify problems of socio-cultural significance faced by English instructors who teach Academic Writing. Our aim is to sensitise our students with the possible differences in writing cultures, styles and linguistic conventions between English and Greek. This sensitization will enable them to perceive more clearly the distinction between universals and specifics in writing and, therefore, avoid linguistic mistakes of social significance.
Van Rij-Heyligers , Josta
Student Learning Centre , University of Auckland , New Zealand
In Aid of Shade and True Colours: WEAP Support in the Pacific, a helpful example for Europe?
As English has become the preferred language of commerce and technology world wide, many students who have English as an Additional Language (EAL) have flocked to universities of the ‘core’ English speaking countries to obtain degrees that are internationally valued. At the postgraduate level, these students face transitions that often require them to renounce their cultural identity in order to be accepted by their academic discourse community. Writing English for Academic Purposes (W.EAP) courses that adopt a pragmatic approach, that is, simply teach the established norms of academic discourse, tend to ignore that this transition involves power relations and struggles (e.g. Pennycook, 1999). In contrast, a critical-pragmatic approach to W.EAP not only informs students of the conventions, but also discusses where they come from. In addition, it aims to provide safe space where students’ voice is negotiated and respected. This paper outlines the different theoretical approaches to teaching English for Academic Purposes (EAP), discusses their implications for the practice of W.EAP, and presents as a working example an intensive W.EAP postgraduate programme conducted at the University of Auckland. The paper concludes that a critical-pragmatic EAP approach needs to be informed by intercultural practices that value the diverse backgrounds of students and promote cooperative learning.
Thompson , Nancy - Department of Chemical Engineering, University of South Carolina
Alford, Elisabeth - Writing Center, Department of English, University of South Carolina
The Research Communications Studio: An Innovative Model for Teaching Communications
This presentation describes recent research and innovation in the teaching of writing. The Research Communications Studio (RCS) is a unique organizational model for developing the cognitive and communications abilities of undergraduate researchers in engineering. The RCS research project, supported by the US National Science Foundation, integrates communications instruction into the engineering research curriculum. Undergraduates who are enrolled in independent study with engineering faculty directors, meet weekly in small “studio” groups composed of peers, engineering and English graduate students, and communications faculty to discuss their research and work on assigned communications tasks. Designed and co-directed by communications faculty from English (composition and rhetoric), the RCS approach draws on Vygotskian and social constructivist theories of learning within a context of distributed cognition, in which all members of a group learn from each other. The RCS research investigated the role of writing and communications, as well as small group or studio group methods, in advancing the learning of novices engaged in authentic research. Assessment after two years shows that the distributed cognition studio model aids novices in developing the characteristics of more experienced researchers. The studio model can be adapted for many programs of study within a number of disciplines.
Zoltan , Patricia
Centre for Learning and Professional Development, The University of Adelaide, Australia
Writing, Thinking, and Culture: A Cross-cultural Study
Metalinguistic awareness contributes to effective writing at university. Writing is a meaning-making process where linguistic, cognitive, social and creative factors are at play. University students need to master the skill of essay writing not only for getting their degree but also for their future career. It is also significant for lecturers to know who our students are, how they think and how we can best assist them. This study examines first-year undergraduate Australian and international engineering students (n=192) as writers of essays in a multicultural setting at the University of Adelaide. A questionnaire and interviews were used to collect data about students’ level of metalinguistic awareness, their attitudes toward, expectations for, assumptions about and motivation for writing. The preliminary results of the research show that students from different cultures have different concepts about the genre of the essay and handle essay writing with different learning and writing styles but those with a more developed metalanguage are more confident and motivated. The conclusion can also be drawn that students’ level of motivation for writing essays positively correlates with their opinion about themselves as writers. Following an in-depth multi-dimensional analysis of research results, some recommendations for writing instruction will also be presented.
English Philology Institute, University of Opole, Poland
Teaching Source Documentation Inductively
The presentation will focus on presenting the results of a small-scale research on inductive teaching of APA format for documenting sources. In the research two types of experimental treatment were used and compared for their effectiveness i.e. guessing the rules either following guiding questions or doing activities designed for the study purposes. The results seem to confirm higher effectiveness of the task-oriented treatment.
Badley , Graham
Department of Education, Anglia Polytechnic University, UK
Using Writing Groups to Transform Teacher-Educators into Scholar-Writers
This research project describes and evaluates a series of writing groups established in the Faculty of Education, APU, during 2004/5 to help transform university teachers into scholar- writers. The problem identified was that too many university teachers saw their role only as teachers and had failed for one reason or another to research, write and publish. The writing groups were set up in order to address and help resolve this problem. A practitioner research approach was used whereby all writing group members, including the researcher, produced texts which were then critiqued in group meetings. All the texts produced by group members were sections or chapters of their own research work in progress. Each group member was committed to writing 1500-2000 words for each meeting so that by the end of a semester they were expected to have a draft article, book chapter or conference presentation ready for submission. Each group meeting focused mainly on giving and receiving critical yet supportive feedback on one another's texts. The texts produced were directly based on the current research literature. Evaluative outcomes, based on participants' own responses to their experience of the groups, indicated that the writing groups were successful in producing useful resource materials for improving the group members' understanding of writing and getting published and in helping with the transformation process from university teacher to scholar-writer.
Bean, John - Department of English, Seattle University, USA
Carrithers, David - Department of Economics and Finance, Seattle University, USA
Teaching Audience Adaptation and Critical Thought in Business Case Assignments
Our presentation describes pedagogical research aimed at teaching American undergraduate business students to address lay audiences in business case assignments. Our research was initiated by an assessment project in which seniors in the finance curriculum were asked to propose solutions to an investment problem and to write a memo, supported by rhetorically effective graphics, to a lay client recommending a course of action. The results showed that more than half the students displayed critical thinking weaknesses including failure to address the client’s problem, random or purposeless use of analytical tools, failure to construct rhetorically useful graphics, and failure to translate finance concepts/methodologies into lay language.
Our results suggest that the homework tasks typically given finance students—quantitative problem-sets using algorithmic procedures—don’t prepare them to address ill-structured problems requiring disciplinary arguments aimed at specified audiences. Our paper describes the research methods we have used for analyzing student difficulties with ill-structured problems and suggests pedagogical strategies for remedying these difficulties. Our findings suggest that teaching audience adaptation—particularly writing to non-expert audiences--promotes the greatest growth in critical thinking. We believe that our approach can be applied at both the graduate and undergraduate levels and can be adapted to European settings.
16.45-17.20 Parallel Presentations
Bellers, Robin - Centre for Academic Writing, Central European University, Hungary
Granger, Marie Pierre - Department of Legal Studies, Central European University, Hungary
Improving Originality in Postgraduate Research: Identifying and Expressing Contribution
In the introduction to academic articles, authors identify their contribution to justify their choice of research in different ways (Swales 1984, 1990). Dudley-Evans (1986) showed that this also holds true for introductions in Dissertations, while Ridley (2000) looked at this area in relation to the literature review. In addition, many journals, in their notes to contributors, explicitly ask the author to highlight the ‘novel’ aspect of their paper. However, students frequently fail to specifically point out the contribution of their writings, often as a result of weaknesses within their review of previous literature. This can have serious consequences for the final product. This presentation looks at how Science Direct’s “hottest” 25 articles in the social sciences identify their contribution and compares this with how masters students in Legal Studies and Political Science at the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest express theirs. It also examines the relationship between the review of literature, the contribution and the thesis statement, particularly in student writings, and makes some suggestions as to how writing instructors and faculty could deal with the problems in this area.
Blückert , Ann
Department of Scandinavian Languages, Uppsala University, Sweden
Teachers' Written Comments as Guidance Into a Discourse Community
In an ongoing PhD work I study the writing training of law students. I analyze how the education deals with the task to develop the students’ ability to write in accordance with academic and legal demands. In my presentation I will focus on the written comments that teachers give to the students’ papers during their first year of education. In what way do the teachers comment on language and style? What linguistic ideals can be seen? Do the teachers’ comments in some way connect with rhetorical notions and insights, such as factors in the rhetorical situation? In some well-known articles by Aviva Freedman, the theme is the role of explicit teaching in the learning of new genres. For the law students that she examined the learning was mostly an implicit process. In my study I want to see if any aspects on genre are made explicit in the teachers’ comments. I am much interested to hear from other conference participants about findings on how teachers’ comments – marginalia – are and can be used to give the students a deepened meta-perspective on their discipline-based language use.
Teaching Development Center , Mae Fah Luang University , Thailand
Teaching and Learning a Specialized Discourse
The researcher used the case study approach to assess what constituted success or failure in teaching and learning how to write in a disciplinary knowledge. The study focused on how three novice writers acquired requisite knowledge to think and write as biochemists based on the socio-cultural theorists’ and social interactionists’ perspectives: Vygotsky and Bahktin, and Nystrand’s theory of reciprocity. The report described how novice writers learned to demonstrate the processes of composing demanded by the biochemist community. Several methods are used in collecting data: in-depth interviews, stimulated interviews, and verbal protocols. The analysis included Discourse and Conversation Analysis. Experienced biochemist professors used co-authorship and conferences as a means of teaching novices how to write their first research papers. These methods were similar to the traditional apprenticeship. The experts implemented the strategies of modelling, coaching, and scaffolding to empower the novices to contribute their personal findings to be established as new scientific knowledge to scientist community. The study shed new light on the social and cognitive views of composing a specialized discourse: novelty, intertextuality, and argumentation. The strength of this study was the information added on the pedagogy of how to teach a specialized discourse. It would be applicable to the design of a more effective curriculum and instruction in teaching academic writing.
Crème, Phyllis - McKenna, Colleen
Centre for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching, University College London, UK
A Student Writing Mentoring Programme: Individual and Institutional Concerns
The Writing and Learning Mentor ( WLM) Project is a small funded project located within an Academic Communication programme at a research intensive UK university. It draws on both a USA Writing in the Disciplines and a UK Academic Literacies model of writing: the one emphasising the essential relationship between writing and knowledge construction, the other encompassing issues of social identity and institutional power.
The aim of the project was to support student writing on different levels. As potential academic tutors, PhD students and researchers are provided with a cross-disciplinary programme of support to work in a mentoring relationship with undergraduates in their own disciplines. At the same time they are able to explore their own writing practices at a crucial moment in their careers as they tried to find their own voice and contribution to their discipline. To date the project has involved seven different disciplines, including history, pharmacology, archaeology and architecture.
We will look at both the impact of the project on individual student mentors as they explored and re-conceived their disciplinary writing identities and at institutional issues that the mentors’ work in their departments brought up, particularly at possible tensions as different conceptions of student writing support were brought into play.
Dell'Aversano , Carmen
Dipartimento di Anglistica, University of Pisa, Italy
Textbook Design for Academic Writing: the PISA Program
The presentation will deal with the problems and solutions encountered in the process of designing the first Italian textbook for the teaching of academic writing. Because of the conditions of university teaching in Italy, and because of the writing tasks Italian students are faced with at various levels of the curriculum, the Pisa program, the first in Italy to offer instruction from the undergraduate to the postgraduate level, displays an almost entirely original approach to the teaching of writing. The pedagogy of the program, a constructivist approach to thinking and writing which models knowledge as an active and personal relationship between a unique human subject and an object that has the potential of responding to an infinite variety of practical and methodological preoccupations, will be outlined and its implementation in textbook design will be demonstrated. The use of the textbook in various kinds of academic writing courses will also be discussed.
Dysthe , Olga
Institute of Education and Health Promotion, University of Bergen, Norway
How a Reform Affects Writing in Higher Education
The theme of the paper is how “the Quality Reform” in Norwegian higher education has affected student writing and the teachers’ role. The reform, which was implemented from 2002, was a direct result of the Bologna Declaration, and included structural, financial and pedagogical changes. Three important aspects of the pedagogical reform demands were student active teaching, close follow up of each student and integration of teaching and assessment. The result was that while Norwegian universities previously demanded very little undergraduate writing before the traditional sit-down exam, virtually all courses now include student essay writing, feedback and in many cases portfolio assessment.
The paper will present some preliminary results from an evaluation of the reform and then focus on some specific issues, for instance: 1) Why did such a major change in writing practices happen so quickly? 2) To what extent are the changes in writing practices similar/different across disciplines and across institutions? 3) How have the changes in writing practices affected students and teachers? 4) What are critical factors for future development of writing in the aftermath of the reform? The discussion will relate to literature both about reforms and about writing in higher education.
Edwards , Harriet
Royal College of Art, UK
Survey of Good Practices From 'Writing Purposefully in Art and Design (PAD)': a UK project Focused on Art and Design (A&D) Student Practitioners (2002-2005)
‘Writing PAD’ promotes the adoption of models of good practice that encourage inclusive approaches to the purposes and possibilities of writing at BA and MA levels. The published survey of such practices (April 2005) detailed in case studies across 21 institutions (see website) forms the basis of this presentation. The project emerged partly from a sense of disjuncture caused by an art historical component imposed on (A&D) institutions since the National Advisory Council in Art Education reports (Coldstream, 1960, 70s). Such an intention to ‘lend credibility’ to A&D colleges in part contributed to a gap between studio-based practice and academic theory (Wood, 2000, Raien, 2003). Notions of the ‘reflective practitioner’ (Schon, 1985) have served useful in reviewing approaches that might prove more relevant today, especially in Design. The project also emerged from the understanding of the ever-increasing visual nature of all students’ culture, not just in A&D; dyslexia research (Pollak, 2001) and increased numbers of international students (Turner, Street, 1999; Lea & Stierer, 2000) both areas with particular challenges and contributions.
Topics discussed will include, for example, integration between studio, theory and support; the place of peer learning; the contribution of virtual learning environments, and the nature of assessment. While some of the practices pinpointed are A&D specific, many are transferable to a wider teaching and learning context. The presentation concludes by pointing to further issues and future directions.
Center for Academic Writing , Central European University , Hungary
What’s in an Academic Title? A Comparative Analysis of Journal Articles and Student Theses
According to Swales “[t]itles consist of only a few words, but they are serious stuff …” It is also true that “[g]etting students to work with titles… is under-recognized as an entertaining and enlightening set of rhetorical tasks” (Swales1990:224). However, little research has been done on successful titles and even less on drawing students’ attention to their function in “informing the reader about the paper and attracting him/her to read it” (Haggan, 2003).
Based on examining 75 published articles in Social Sciences, Psychology and Environmental Science, I will identify certain characteristics of academic titles and their relationship to the paper. In my analysis, I will first draw conclusions about length, structure and vocabulary; second I will examine how experienced writers apply the title in their Introduction, section titles and Conclusion, arguing that the title is one of the main cohesive forces uniting a paper.
The second part of my presentation will examine a total of 75 MA theses submitted by Central European University students from departments corresponding to the journal disciplines (Sociology, Gender Studies and Environmental Science). Analyzing students’ titles and their unifying force (or lack of it), at the end of my presentation I will make some pedagogical recommendations on how to give titles the attention they deserve.