Academic Writing in a Multi-lingual and Multi-disciplinary Context

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Academic Writing in a Multi-lingual and Multi-disciplinary Context

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Title Academic Writing in a Multi-lingual and Multi-disciplinary Context
Author(s) Finnegan, Damian ; Kauppinen, Asko ; Wärnsby, Anna
Date 2011
English abstract
Damian Finnegan (damian.finnegan@mah.se) Asko Kauppinen (asko.kauppinen@mah.se) Anna Wärnsby (anna.warnsby@mah.se) Academic Writing in a Multi-lingual and Multidisciplinary Context One crucial challenge of academic writing concerns the increasing heterogenisation of student populations. In many writing classes, we now find “any combination of native-born, international, refugee, permanent resident, and naturalized students,” exhibiting considerable linguistic diversity and multiple levels of English proficiency (Preto-Bay and Hansen, 2006; see also Hall, 2009). At the same time, interest towards academic writing in European higher education is growing, yet resources for teaching do not reflect this. Moreover, the wider student base demands practical application from their writing courses, not theoretical knowledge of language skills (see, for example, Anderson 1983, 2009 on procedural vs. declarative knowledge). To show how these problems can be addressed, we discuss the course Academic Writing in English offered at Malmö University, Sweden, which currently enrolls approximately 300 students per year. The course design is explicitly based on the general model of information processing, which assumes that “complex behavior builds on simple processes” (McLaughlin and Heredia, 1996, p. 213). The focus of all learning activities is on acquisition of procedural knowledge geared towards comprehension and production. One distinctive feature of this course is the very tight integration of electronic resources and other teaching material. This provides student populations various types of continuous feedback and highly individualised learning paths. In this paper, we present and evaluate empirical data pertaining to students’ experience of the content, structure and resources in this course. We also discuss the preliminary results obtained through tests administered before, during and after the course. References Anderson, J. R. 2009. Cognitive Psychology and Its Implications. 7th edition. New York: Worth Publishers. Anderson, J. R. 1983. The Architecture of Cognition. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Hall, Jonathan. 2009. “WAC/WID in the Next America: Redefining Professional Identity in the Age of the Multilingual Majority.” The WAC Journal. Vol. 20, November. 33-49. McLaughlin, B. and Hereda, J. L. C. 1996. “Information-processing Approaches to Research on Second Language Acquisition and Use.” In Ritchie, W. C. and Bhatia, T. K. (eds.), Handbook of Second Language Acquisition. San Diego: Academic Press, 213-228. Preto-Bay, Ana Maria and Kristine Hansen. 2006. “Preparing for the Tipping Point: Designing Writing Programs to Meet the Needs of the Changing Population.” WPA: Writing Program Administration, Vol. 30, Nos. 1-2, Fall. 37-57.
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) writing as a process
EFL
course design
blended learning
multi-disciplinary
acquisition of writing skills
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH AREAS
Note The Role of the Student Experience in Shaping Academic Writing Development in Higher Education, European Association of Teachers of Academic Writing (EATAW), 29th June – 1st July 2011 University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/14885 (link to this page)
Link http://www3.ul.ie/rwc/eataw2011/ (external link to related web page)

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