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Invisible writing. Invisible Writing The link between stupidity and the semicolon. Dr Pat Hill, FHEA Academic Skills Tutor /Senior Lecturer School of Music, Humanities and Media University of Huddersfield. Workshop Schedule. What do we think? Discussion of example of writing.

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Invisible writing

Invisible writing

Invisible Writing

The link between stupidity and the semicolon

Dr Pat Hill, FHEAAcademic Skills Tutor /Senior LecturerSchool of Music, Humanities and MediaUniversity of Huddersfield

Workshop schedule
Workshop Schedule

  • What do we think? Discussion of example of writing.

  • What do others think? Some extracts from my research.

  • What do students say? Data sample

  • What can we do? Example of one module which tries to address the problem.

Student writing
Student Writing




Staff voices
Staff voices

  • Almost EVERYTHING bothers me about student writing - many students do not know what a sentence is, or what a paragraph is, or how to use semi-colons. They seem to have little sense of how to write formally, as opposed to conversationally.

  • I estimate that over one third of my Year II students this year (about 50 in all) have *serious* deficiencies in basic literacy. I have nagged them all year, given them skills reading etc. and at least half of the really bad ones have mended their ways and made noticeable improvement. They are the victims of bad schooling, but it takes a huge effort to get on top of the basics at the age of 19 or 20,

Student voices
Student voices

  • I’ve got so many books at home and I’ve read about apostrophes and I just get so confused. It might sound really simple but I do not understand apostrophes. I do not understand semi-colons and I do not understand apostrophes.

  • Those are just spelling mistakes and punctuation. I’m not worried because I know the knowledge is there.

  • I read a book and your handouts on punctuation but it just doesn’t come naturally. Somehow, when I’m faced with a decision I can’t decide what’s right without looking it up every time.

Room for reflection
Room for reflection

  • Students discuss rubric before applying it to a model essay.

  • Compare marks to those of other groups and then to the ones given by the tutor

  • They work out what is important and how to apply the rubric to their own work

  • They submit a self-assessment as they are given tutor feedback

  • In the next session they discuss how to understand and use feedback

Self evaluation
Self Evaluation

  • Where am I now?

    • Choose at least one aspect of your work that you are proud of

    • Choose at least one aspect of your work that you would like to change

  • What do I need to do?

    • In a small group compare your strengths and weaknesses

    • Make a list of possible resources or strategies

    • Write an action plan

  • Reflect

    • Write an entry in your private blog using the reflection cycle questions


  • People are judged and excluded by the way they write

  • Changing writing schema in adulthood is a complex process

  • Reflection, motivation, focus and examining priorities are key elements of change