Friday, 24 June 2005
11.00-12.15 Parallel Workshops
Milton , Jane - Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Canada
Childers, Pamela - The McCallie School, USA
Childers, Malcolm - USA
Orr , Susan - School of Arts York St. John, College of the University of Leeds, UK
Visual Arts to Enhance Written Communication
This workshop examines the interrelation of writing programs and writing centres within all disciplines through the use of the visual arts. The presenters will focus on epistemological considerations among art, design, and writing, moving students from visual to written language, and using visual experience as the creative engine for academic writing.
By examining the complex relationship of art/design education to writing, one must consider such assumptions as respect for the holistic, status of the individual interior world over the social one, the privilege of ambiguity, and contesting the traditional relationship between theory and practice. Students who see themselves as visual learners and express themselves through visual arts often don’t see themselves as writers. By connecting the process of art making and design to a similar process of writing a paper, using visual representations of sentence structure and argument, and using design and curatorial projects to stimulate written works, students begin to see their writing and themselves in new ways. Practices include freewriting, writing process, and writing in the disciplines. By using actual photographs, participants will learn how to apply visual experiences to trigger connections between the visual and verbal across disciplines in their classrooms.
Turlik , John
Zayed University, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Lexical Richness, Grammatical Accuracy and Holistic Scoring in Academic Writing-Factors in Writing Development
The presenter’s longitudinal research is concerned with academic writing development in English of first language Arabic university students, from their first essays written as part of their secondary school leaving certificate/university entrance examination, through their foundation (readiness) programme to the academic writing in their various pre-degree and degree courses.
The research is to determine if there is a correlation between external, examiner based holistic scores and ‘mechanical’ computer generated measures of lexical richness and grammatical accuracy in academic English writing, over a period of two to four years.
The work draws on developing lexical richness research by, among others, Thompson and Thomson (1915), Carroll (1938), Templin (1957), Hess, Ritchie, and Landry (1984), Arnaud (1984), Broeder, Extra and van Hout (1987), Palmberg (1987), Laufer (1991, 1994), Read (1993), Astika (1993), Nation and Laufer (1995), Malvern and Richards (1997, 2002), Meara and Fitzpatrick (1999), Jarvis (2002). It also builds on work on composition quality, assessment and profiling by, among others, Engber (1995), Polio (1997), Jarvis, Grant, Bikowski and Ferris (2003) and Morris and Cobb (undated)
In this workshop, a very brief outline of the research, its background and rationale will be given after which the focus will move specifically to samples of written work. EATAW participants will be asked, either individually or in small groups (depending on numbers) to:
- Arrange some short authentic texts (extracts from essays by one student) in what they think is the sequence in which they were written
- Give their reasons for the selected sequencing
We will discuss and compare:
- The basis on which the sequences of the texts were determined by participants
- Factors which would appear, based on the texts, to contribute to writing development
- Participants’ sequences with the actual sequence of the same text.
It is the presenter’s hope that the session will offer much that is helpful to participants, will complement their teaching experience and own research, and stimulate further thoughts on the development and grading of academic writing.
Vassiliades , Maria
The Writing Center, Hellenic American Union & Hellenic American University, Greece
Writing Effective Paragraphs with Evidence: Documentation and a Smooth Incorporation
As a student, I struggled with one aspect of writing: the inclusion of outside evidence in my body paragraphs. As the years passed, I found ways of eliminating this problem, ways of strengthening my writing to result in the smooth incorporation and documentation of outside evidence within my own text. Once I started teaching at the college-level, I found that many of my students faced the same problems with their writing as I had. The following, thus, became clear: the writing process, while not a formula, needs occasional guides.
Consequently, I developed a five-step guide to help my students with this writing challenge. As part of this guide, I make it clear to writers that the trick to writing effective paragraphs (with outside evidence) is providing a smooth transition for the inclusion of a quote from an outside source into one’s own writing. It must not stick out like a sore thumb—it must not seem forced. Rather, it must be well introduced and explained through adequate analysis. The writer must make sure the reader is not left wondering what the function of the quote is or how it feeds into the point the writer is trying to make.
As part of this workshop/ round table discussion, I will share the guide I developed with the audience, as well as show examples of its implementation. Furthermore, I will show students’ paragraphs written prior to their exposure to the guide and the same paragraphs rewritten to reflect the guide I provided them with. In the process, and as part of one of the five steps of this guide, I will provide the audience with a brief MLA in-text citation workshop.
Antoniadou, Mariella - Petropoulos, John
The Writing Center, Deree College & The Junior College, The American College of Greece
Student Diversity and the Writing Center: Not an Obstacle But a Challenge!
The student body of Deree College and the Junior College at the Downtown campus of the American College of Greece is characterized by considerable diversity in relation to the students’ age, cultural and educational background, and competence in the English language. While some are typical 19-24, live-at-home, full-time students, others are adult learners with full-time jobs. Due to this lack of uniformity in the student body, we, as tutors at the American College of Greece (ACG) Downtown campus Writing Center, have found it necessary to adopt a variety of tutoring approaches and practices, tailored to the students’ individual needs, in order to help students become better writers and communicators. Being a tutor at the ACG Writing Center is a challenging and creative experience that requires flexibility, intuition, collaboration and constant search for effective tutoring methods and approaches, suitable to the diverse student population of the ACG.
The purpose of this round table is to share the tutoring experiences we have acquired at the ACG Writing Center. Through examination of sample student assignments and discussion of techniques we have developed to cater to the needs of our learners, we will present and exchange views on how to approach a diverse student audience successfully.
Cook, Jill - English Language Centre, University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Stephenson, Lauren - Center for Professional Development of UAE Educators, College of Education, Zayed University, United Arab Emirates
The Working Model: An Approach to Teaching Academic Writing
We wish to present a four stage model to teach writing, which is a developmental and interrelated learning/assessment cycle that can be applied to individual lessons as well as specific programs. Drawing on best practice literacy theories, it is a learner/learning centred approach which encourages the learner to self-reflect while allowing for alternative methods of assessment.
While the theories of Systemic Functional Linguistics and Critical Discourse Analysis behind this approach are not new, we aim to offer participants an effective, learner-centred approach to the teaching of academic writing while illustrating how accepted theory can inform classroom practice. This in turn gives the learner a more authentic and therefore beneficial learning experience that can improve reading and writing performance.
The workshop will focus on each stage of our Model in turn with continual reference to how the notions of self-reflection and assessment can be realised and what the role of both learner and teacher is throughout the learning/teaching cycle. Using a loop input approach, participants will be given a model text for deconstruction using previously prepared worksheets and they will then be shown how to reconstruct a similar text type using techniques such as brainstorming and mindmaps to identify possible content and paragraphing.
12.25-13.00 Parallel Presentations
Gholami Mehrdad , Ali - Hamedan Islamic Azad University, Iran
Rahnama, Akbar - Shahed University, Iran
The Effect of Writing Diaries on English Students' Writing Skills
Despite the crucial role writing plays in learning a foreign language, many students do not show much interest in taking an active part in writing classes for different reasons(Mint,1997). Thus different activities have been proposed to motivate the students to write and to make the task interesting to them. One of the activities proposed is diary writing and the present work is trying to investigate the effect of writing diaries on writing ability of a group of English students at Islamic Azad University of Hamedan, Iran. To do this, students are asked to take part in the structure section of the TOEFL test adopted from Longman Preparation for the TOEFL Test(1996). Then 50 students whose obtained scores are 1 and 2 on the TWE scale are picked up and randomly assigned in two groups: experimental and control. The students in both groups are taught the general structure of a paragraph and the basic concepts associated with a paragraph such as unity and coherence. Afterwards, the students are asked to write paragraphs on a weekly schedule and hand them in to the teacher. These all are corrected and returned to the students. But in the experimental group the students are asked to write down their daily activities throughout the week and hand them in to the teacher. The teacher tells the students what is important here is their writing and that the mistakes they make in the diaries are not considered in the final evaluation. After 4 months the students in both groups take part in a writing exam in which they have to write two paragraphs. The comparison of the means at p<0.05 shows a better performance in the experimental group.
Gillespie , Paula
Ott Memorial Writing Center , Marquette University , USA
An Argument for Peer Tutoring: The Peer Tutoring Alumni Research Project
As the demand increases for writing assistance in universities worldwide, writing center directors consider issues related to training peer tutors to share in the work. Harvey Kail and I discuss these issues in our chapter in the 2003 EATAW proceedings. This session will focus on one of these issues: the value of tutoring for tutors.
Effective tutor training fills a unique educational niche in the formation of competent professionals who use the skills, values, and qualities they develop after graduation to their jobs and their personal lives. Tutoring helps equip them to succeed not only in the university, but in an impressive range of occupations. While tutoring is excellent preparation for future teachers, it benefits other students as well. Research by writing center directors at the University of Maine, the University of Wisconsin, and Marquette University yields convincing evidence that can be used to argue for either establishing or continuing a program of peer tutoring.
I will explain the Website that functions as a research kit, allowing anyone to conduct this study or modify it for an institution's unique needs. I will discuss the results of focus groups and summarize some early findings of the research.
For more information: http://www.mu.edu/writingcenter/PeerTutorAlumniPage.htm
Linguistische Kommunikations und Medienforschung , European University Viadrina , Germany
How to Make a Virtue of Necessity: Teacherless Writing Group Work at the University
At most German universities there are no composition courses nor any other support for writing.
Furthermore most of the students do not write any paper at all during the semester and then, during the vacation, have to write large papers without the help of their lecturers or peers. No wonder that they get frustrated and fear writing!
This presentation explains how and why a new course model, based on teacherless writing groups and student created assignments, helps students to write regularly, to make them think about writing processes and to affect a positive attitude to writing. The course focuses on creating a strong learning community within the groups. It offers a way especially for those who deal with big classes and low budget.
For my research I try to leave the teacher's perspective and examine this course model from the student's point of view by using Grounded Theory Methodology. Data like interviews, group discussions or proceedings help me to explore the student's needs. First results confirm that the social dimension of the writing group work is vitally important to them and show parallels to publications on collaborative learning or writing center theory.
Harbord , John
Center for Academic Writing, Central European University, Hungary
The Role of Models in Developing Writing Skills
The importance of model texts in writing teaching has long been debated, and models have played different parts in different theoretical approaches. The product approach saw a key role for good models which were to be copied mechanically in ‘boiler-plate’ fashion (eg. Jordan 1980) The subsequent process approach rejected this copying role and relied more on students’ ability to generate their own texts based on intuition and reflection (cf. Zamel, Raimes). More recently, the genre approach has seen a renewed role for models as providing samples of given genres for analysis (see Bizzell, Swales, Johns). It remains unclear, however, just what happens when students ‘use’ a model for guidance in their writing, regardless of the intentions of the approach, and whether the consequences of this are entirely positive. Based on a change in approach to the teaching of one genre in academic writing courses at the Central European University, this presentation will assess, on the basis of analysis of two groups of student critiques, one taught using models, one not, the impact and limitations of models on the written product.
Henderson , Fiona - Dixon, Julie
Student Learning Services , Victoria University of Technology, Australia
Connections, Transitions and Cross-Cultural Differences: Teaching Writing in China
Victoria University ( Australia) teaches English for Academic Purposes both prior to teaching diploma programs and concurrently at a number of locations in China. Where the EAP program is taught prior to a diploma then there is the opportunity to embed a variety of materials, models and information that will assist the students to transit into an Australian-style teaching and learning environment. This English learning environment in China is difficult to support but attempts are being made at a number of levels.
The writing genres that have been appropriate at senior secondary school in China are narrative and descriptive. The transition to analytical and evaluative genres is enormous. It is important to explain and show the students both the ‘what’ and the ‘why’. At one level, broader and different vocabulary skills are required; at a much more complex level is participation in the traditions and debate of an academic community. Another difference is the emphasis on relating theory to practice.
Research and discussions for improving the teaching of writing are being held with a study tour of Chinese lecturers of English from Lanzhou University visiting Victoria University. Their ideas for smoothing the transition will be the focus of this presentation.
Department of Language, K.N.T. University of Technology, Iran
EAP Writing Instruction and Students’ Writing Needs
Writing instruction in many English for Academic Purposes (EAP) is based on the assumption that what is taught and learned in writing classes will help EFL students function well across the curriculum. However, this is difficult to be determined because many academic writing requirements may be implicit in the curriculum. Furthermore, we also need to know how much of EFL writing courses comes to mind of EFL students—in other words, what elements of EFL writing instruction will be useful and available to them in their content courses? This article reports on a survey of postgraduate students’ perceptions of the relationship between the writing instruction the students received in EFL and the actual writing tasks they found in their content courses. The results illustrate that the students’ perceptions about the most practical skills useful in dealing with the writing demands of their content courses do not overlap with that of instructors.
The results also demonstrate that we as EAP writing teachers and researchers should make greater efforts to consult more with EFL students about their needs and ways in which their EAP writing training articulates with their cross-curricular writing demands.
Knudsen , Sanne
Department of Communication Studies, Roskilde University, Denmark
What’s Your Problem? Constructing and Developing Problem-oriented Writing at University
In order to teach writing and to facilitate reflective learning, we need to know and to understand the actual writing and writing processes of our students - and in order to do so, we need research on what students think, want and write. Fostering critical thinking is one of the central aims of university, and during the last decades we have experienced a boom in student-oriented learning approaches specifically aiming at generating and supporting critical thinking and writing. As a result, new genres are born, in which students are expected to use and transform knowledge in a manner which is different from or even contradictory of their previous writing experiences. Or, as Maggi Savin-Baden concludes; "It is naïve to assume that it is possible to adopt problem-based learning with ease". Nevertheless, there is little research on students' generic competence in negotiating and constructing problem-based genres, nor in how these generic competencies develop during their time at university. In this paper, I intend to present and discuss a genre analysis of problem-oriented student reports focusing in particular on how problem-oriented elements are represented in this writing and on how the composition of these texts change and develop during the first two years at a Danish problem-oriented university.
Szymanska, Jolanta Alicja
English Philology Institute, Opole University, Poland
The Structure of the Clause and the Structure of the Text
The presentation focuses on teaching writing on academic level. More specifically, it discusses students’ difficulties recognising the relationship between the grammar of the clause and the structure of a short text. The theoretical background is language pragmatics. In its theoretical part the paper discusses the issues of context, cohesion, coherence and binding propositions. The audience will be provided with handouts including texts produced by students and suggested exercises to help students determine the relationships between the grammatical structure and the pragmatic value of the text.
14.10-14.45 Parallel Presentations
Lange , Ulrike
Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Institut für Slavistik, Germany
Connecting Workshops and Writing in the Disciplines
Voluntary writing workshops which concentrate on basic skills for managing the writing process (as described by Ruhmann 1999), often have little connection to specific writing assignments in the disciplines. A question frequently asked at the end of such a workshop is: “How do these techniques work in real life? “ Reacting to this question, I suggest using journal writing combined with an analysis of the writing process while students work on a research paper. Journal writing can bring material from the disciplines to the writing workshop and reflection of real writing processes deepens the transfer from theory to praxis (cf. Bräuer 2000) and forms a bridge to writing in the disciplines. Essential to the success of both journal writing and reflection of the writing process are how to maintain the students’ privacy and how to reduce the pressure of evaluation. The particular setting will be of special interest for those German universities, where writing classes are introduced (new B.A. courses).
Lea , Mary
Institute of Educational Technology , Open University , UK
Teaching Academic Writing: Teaching the Academics
Teaching academic writing is now central to university provision for supporting learning. Despite many innovative approaches, including attempts to integrate writing support into the mainstream, for example, through ‘Writing in the Discipline’ programmes, the focus is primarily on the student. This presentation takes an alternative approach. Focusing on Law lecturers charged with writing Law course materials for undergraduate students studying at a distance, it explores a project from the Open University which supports faculty as academic writers. The project uses principles from research into academic literacies (Lea & Stierer, 2000, Lea & Street, 1998) to enable the lecturers to consider notions of genre, meaning and identity in their own writing. The findings suggest that provision of this kind can help academics understand more about the complex ways in which writing is implicated in the construction of their own disciplinary knowledge and – by association - that of their students. In addressing the theme of r esearch and innovation in the teaching and tutoring of writing, the presentation explores the possibility for a teaching model where writing is foregrounded not just in relation to student learning but also in terms of academics’ own disciplinary practice.
Lee , K.C.
Centre for English Language Communication, National University of Singapore, Singapore
The Impact of Face-to-Face Versus Online Discussion on Writing
The process writing model (White & Arndt, 1991) has been adopted by many writing instructors in their classes. Central to this approach is the pre-writing stage involving collaborative brainstorming/outlining of ideas. Although there have been studies conducted and textbooks written based on the approach, little has been done to investigate if transfer of knowledge occurs between the pre-writing stage and the writing draft; and if it does, what are some significant patterns that can be observed.
This paper reports on a case study that investigated the impact of face-to-face (F2F) versus online synchronous chat (SC) brainstorming sessions on the content and organization of individual students’ drafts. Quantitative measures such as percentages and the t-unit were used to compare time on task; idea threads discussed and used, depth of discussion, and ownership of ideas. Qualitatively, the relational structure between ideas and the degree of coherence in each essay were established using Mann and Thompson’s (1986, 1988) Rhetorical Structure Theory.
Preliminary results suggest that in both modes of discussion, there is transfer of ideas from collaborative brainstorming to individual drafts, ownership of ideas, and focus and structure in the discussion. However, there are some observable differences in terms of the depth of discussion and quality of draft.
Department of English, Deree College, The American College of Greece
From the Challenged to the Challenging: Competent Writers and the Writing Center
As Wingate (2001) documents, Writing Centers in Institutions of Higher Education have established themselves by serving the academically challenged learners. Typically, tutoring focuses on remediation, assisting weaker students acquire the communication skills required in the college classroom (Avinger 1998). The issue that remains largely unexplored relates to the role the Writing Center can play in assisting competent writers who can improve but seldom seek assistance. When I became Coordinator of the Writing Centers at the American College of Greece (ACG) in 2003, I realized that if ACG Writing Centers were to grow, we should address the needs of learners with varying levels of competencies. In my presentation I will briefly present various initiatives, such as tailored workshops and a poetry reading group, undertaken at ACG in an effort to reach students across the disciplines and challenge stereotypical views of the Writing Center. I will describe in more detail the successful collaboration between the writing program courses and the Writing Centers: designing assignments that range from writing a thesis statement to composing a brief literary analysis, instructors require all students in writing classes to seek tutorial assistance. Such assignments allow all students, from the challenged to the challenging, to acquaint themselves with the Writing Center, identifying it as a friendly, supportive learning environment to which they return throughout their years at ACG.
Lorentzen, Anita - English Department, University of Nebraska at Kearney, USA
Schnieder, Jeremy - Writing Center, University of Nebraska at Kearney, USA
Schultz , Darcy - English Department, University of Nebraska at Kearney, USA
"Just Tell Me How to Fix It!" The Banking Concept vs. Problem Posing in Writing Tutorial s
College students faced with paper revision prefer a “banking concept” approach, or one-way learning paradigm in which they are told what is wrong with their papers and how to fix them, to actively re-envisioning the paper holistically, because the former requires no mental energy or creation of meaning on their part. This preference logically extends to their expectations when conferencing with Writing Center tutors. Unfortunately, this approach becomes problematic when students “fix” their “mistakes”—often with minimal effort—based upon the suggestions of the tutor, assuming that correcting a few mechanical and grammatical errors, and changing and adding a few words will result in an “A” paper.
Unfortunately, most students rarely grasp the rigors of writing revisions, falling dramatically short of their instructors’ expectations that often necessitate the “problem posing” approach (which runs antithetical to the “banking concept”), or intense dialogic strategies such as evidence and follow-through of a precise thesis, reorganization, elaboration with succinct, relevant, and carefully selected examples, etc .
Our proposal endeavors to present the results of a semester long observation of consultations between students and Writing Center tutors, where composition instructors give several focus groups/classes a specific instructional set of revisionary guidelines to dialogue and complete prior to turning their revision into the instructor, versus classes that are not afforded this opportunity. We also intend to note the differences between these strategies in online composition courses where students utilize online writing center tutors and seem to rely even more on the “banking concept” approach to “fixing” their papers because of the lack of visual contact. Thus, because writing instructors are constantly striving toward a more dialogic/“problem posing” learning construct, writing centers, onground and online, need to work toward this goal as well.
(“The Banking Concept” of education is a theory espoused upon in Paulo Freire’s book Pedagogy of the Oppressed, which we will abridge prior to our presentation. Freire identifies opposing modes of teaching: “The Banking Concept” and the “Problem Posing” approach. When the pedagogical approach relies heavily on the Banking Concept, students are passive receptors of information that is handed to them by the teacher, the owner of the knowledge. The expected outcomes are objective knowledge and rote memorization, with no originality of thinking or application of the material on the part of the student. In the Problem Posing construct, the student becomes an active participant in the learning process, asking questions and creating his or her own meaning out of new knowledge based on past experiences and personal repertoire.)
Expertisecentrum taal, onderwijs en communicatie, Rijksuniversiteit
Groningen, The Netherlands
AlaBaMa: Online Good Practices for Teachers in the Sciences
Redesigning curricula in such a way that students better learn the academic
skills that are expected of them, is a hot topic in Dutch higher education. Academic skills are often academic writing skills. Teachers in the disciplines are often unsure how to teach academic writing, let alone how to integrate the teaching of academic writing in the teaching of their discipline. Therefore, the Faculty of Science of the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, in collaboration with the Hanzehogeschool Groningen, has started to collect good practices and examples of the teaching of academic (writing) skills in the disciplines. These are published through AlaBaMa, an online support site for teachers of the sciences. Each good practice consists of a description of the method the teacher devised for teaching the academic (writing) skill and contains examples of the teaching materials the teacher has developed. This way, teachers provide ideas for other teachers how to improve their teaching. The practices and materials are also discussed in
teacher workshops that are conducted to support the redesigning of the curricula. In this presentation, the site will be demonstrated and we will discuss the question whether online exchange of teaching materials will work to improve the teaching of academic (writing) skills.
14.55-15.30 Parallel Presentations
Department of English, Deree College, The American College of Greece
The Ethical Tutor: Plagiarism and the Role of the Writing Center
Research on academic integrity indicates that increasing numbers of students are plagiarizing as a means of fulfilling writing requirements for their academic courses (McCabe 2000). When such students seek assistance at the Writing Center and the tutor discovers advertent or inadvertent plagiarism, then two complex issues emerge: 1) the confidentiality of the tutor-tutee-instructor relationships being jeopardized; and 2) a discrepancy between writing center practices and institutional academic integrity policies. When these complex issues arise in the context of an American institution of higher learning geographically located outside the US, then further cultural/ethical issues compound the plight that tutors face in practice.
As a past tutor of the Writing Center of the American College of Greece, an instructor of academic writing for almost two decades with longstanding interest and research in academic integrity, I plan to explore this largely unaddressed area (Gruber 1998). I will be recommending that the college community is better served when proactive policies are followed by writing center tutors. By being proactive, tutors assist tutees with their individual writing challenges while also advancing academic integrity within the institutional community.
Olivier , Lawrence
Centre For Higher Education Development (CHED), Durban Institute of Technology, South Africa
Using Writing to Learn in a South African Context
The Paper focuses on the theme research and innovation in the teaching and tutoring of writing. Many first time entry South African students have not experienced the ways of thinking, reasoning, reading and writing in the university. In addition many of these students learn using English as an additional language. Also many of these students come from disadvantaged educational, economic, and social backgrounds, a legacy of a historical colonial and apartheid system. This suggests that the South African higher education classroom is unique, highly complex and has students from diverse backgrounds. In this context methodology does matter and how students are socialised into the different ways of thinking, reasoning, reading and writing (the community of academic practice) becomes a critical issue. The writer/researcher of this paper reports on how he uses student writing to develop learning. Informing his report is the literature on and the practice of both academic development and academic literacy development. A conclusion of the paper is that in a South African context, university teaching cannot only be about transmitting disciplinary conceptual knowledge.
Pinder , Janice
Language and Learning Services, Centre for Learning and Teaching Support, Monash University, Australia
What Does L2 Writing Pedagogy Have to Offer L1 Students?
This paper addresses the issue of developing effective writing pedagogies for postgraduate research students.
Drawing on experience tutoring both native and non-native writers of English in the academic support unit of a large Australian university, I consider the differences and similarities of the two groups, and examine some elements of L2 writing pedagogy and their theoretical underpinnings, to find what it has to offer L1 writers. At the graduate research level, although individual linguistic problems have different origins for native and non-native speakers, lack of control of the linguistic code often has a negative impact on self-esteem for both groups. Teaching methods like consciousness-raising, that make explicit the points of loss of control, can empower student writers.
El Badri, Hassan
English Language Center , Hail Community College , Saudi Arabia
Understanding Learners’ Difficulties Using Computer-Based Writing Assignments: What’s at Stake?
The introduction of Computer Aided Instruction (CAI) in the area of English Language Learning and Teaching has had a positive impact on students’ academic performance. While a great deal of research has investigated the usefulness of computers and on-line resources in EFL classrooms, fewer studies have discussed the readiness or the difficulties students encountered while working on their assignments using computers and the Internet which, of course, are most of the time ‘almost’ unfamiliar to them.
The purpose of this paper is to address some of the factors that have been hindering students’ progress in writing on-line assignments at Hail Community College. Part of this paper is a culmination of the overall benefits English 101 students (about 36 freshmen students) at HCC have gained through Internet and Computer Aided Instruction (CAI), which has indeed improved the students' academic writing skills; however, a larger part of this paper will particularly focus on the issues related to the difficulties students encountered during the Computer Aided Instruction program. Though the disadvantages of CAI has always evolved around the problems of networks, Internet connections and machines technical glitches, less has been said about students’ unfamiliarity with the information technology and the anxiety they face when they have to use computers.
Rai , Lucy
School of Health and Social Welfare, The Open University, UK
Integrating Contextualised 'Effective Study' Teaching in Distance Education
In July 2004 a new short course, Understanding Children, won the Commonwealth of Learning award for Excellence in Distance Learning Materials. Understanding Children is a new addition to an Open University suite of short courses intended to prepare non traditional students for higher education. In developing the course priorities included reaching a diverse audience of learners and enabling them to develop the ability to study effectively. Moving away from previous models of skill development through generic resources, Understanding Children drew upon research based upon a social practices approach to literacy (Lea & Street 1998, Lea 2002, Lillis 2001; Fairburn & Fairburn 2001;Crème & Lea2002, Rai 2004). Implementing a social practices approach created particular challenges such as using written materials encourage reflection and dialogue between students and tutors. The categorisation of study areas was also needed to make explicit disciplinary conventions which students needed to understand in order to participate in written assessment.
As a short pre degree course, Understanding Children is a step forward in applying a socio cultural understanding of student writing to specific teaching contexts. Drawing upon this experience, this presentation opens up the debate on embedding and contextualising the teaching of writing both in the discipline and for the individual student context.
Department of Scandinavian Studies and Linguistics, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
How to Elbow Your Way through Academic Writing
Peter Elbow ’s concept “community of writers” indicates fellowship, cooperation and dialogue to be at the very core of the writing process.
This workshop investigates the Elbowian principle of freewriting from a cognitive perspective and presents an academic writing tool kit by means of which the rapidly, indeliberate and uncensored freewritten text produced is brought to form the basis of well-structured argumentation by means of displays.
The display which communicates an understanding of writing as a dialogue between relatively fixed structures and cognitive dynamics can also be employed as an academic reading tool.
Rochecouste , Judith
Language and Learning Services Unit, Centre for Learning and Teaching Support, Monash University, Australia
Constructing Taxonomies for Graduate Writing
This paper introduces a teaching/tutoring model for developing an understanding of the research culture of universities in English speaking countries. It encourages graduate students to be reflective about their research experience in order to manage reviewing the literature, collecting data, analysing results and writing their thesis and scholarly publications.
The model is based on the view that academic writing in English contains taxonomies which reflect the way we understand our disciplines of knowledge. Frequently these taxonomies are not made explicit to the reader, but rely on a shared understanding of how knowledge is structured in our culture. The paper describes how building an understanding of the way knowledge is structured by speakers of English can assist graduate writers from other linguistic and cultural backgrounds.
The notions of ‘common’ and ‘uncommon’ knowledge from Systemic Functional Linguistics will also be used to demonstrate how research frequently involves the collection and collation of patterns of everyday behaviours (common knowledge) which are then embedded within a higher order theoretical framework to generate uncommon knowledge. Such a new framework is frequently classificatory or hierarchically structured and becomes the contribution of new knowledge to the field of study which is the basic requirement of doctoral research.
Pallant , Anne
Centre for Applied Language Studies, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, The University of Reading, UK
Conforming to Convention: the Challenge of Diversity in Academic Writing Skills
In an increasingly globalised world, in which UK universities receive increasing numbers of international students, there is much debate as to what standards are expected, and acceptable in students' academic writing. Students arrive with their own expectations, resulting from their own cultural and educational backgrounds, and are faced with the need to adapt to new conventions.
Focusing on the area of academic writing in UK institutions, this presentation will examine the extent to which non-native speakers of English need to conform to the expected academic conventions in their subject area, in order to be part of their particular discourse community. It will look at the historical background and the reasons why they need to conform. Links will be made to how classroom practice should reflect and respect such conventions.
Overall the paper will argue that the foundations of UK academic conventions in academic writing have stood firm for hundreds of years, and that too much leniency in accepting other styles and traditions could change the nature of university assessment and study.