through a glass darkly do lecturers really know what they want from students writing n.
Skip this Video
Loading SlideShow in 5 Seconds..
Through a glass darkly: Do lecturers really know what they want from students’ writing? PowerPoint Presentation
Download Presentation
Through a glass darkly: Do lecturers really know what they want from students’ writing?

Loading in 2 Seconds...

play fullscreen
1 / 20

Through a glass darkly: Do lecturers really know what they want from students’ writing? - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on

Through a glass darkly: Do lecturers really know what they want from students’ writing?. Amanda French. Aims. I want to defamiliarise and problematise evaluative practices around students’ writing in HE.

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about 'Through a glass darkly: Do lecturers really know what they want from students’ writing?' - brinda

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
through a glass darkly do lecturers really know what they want from students writing

Through a glass darkly: Do lecturers really know what they want from students’ writing?

Amanda French

  • I want to defamiliarise and problematise evaluative practices around students’ writing in HE.
  • I want to encourage us all to be more reflective about how such evaluative practices around students’ writing embody powerful assumptions and values inherent in higher education.
writing as a situated practice
Writing as a ‘situated practice’
  • My work on writing development stems from a ‘situated’ perspective on language and literacy, (Barton, Hamilton& Ivanic, 2000) .
  • This approach takes the view that writing in higher education requires students and lecturers to develop situated’ writing practices, which reflect the power relationships operating within the higher education discourse ( Lea & Street, 2006). .
writing as social practice
Writing as social practice
  • Writing practices only make sense when studied in the context of social and cultural, historical, political, and economic power relationships of which they are but a manifestation. (Gee, 1996).
  • Recognising the existence of cultural power, and exploring how it functions discursively, entails struggles over meaning that often destabilise, or at the least, confuse the old certainties upon which such power often rests and relies. (Fairclough,1995)
what is the point of writing in higher education
What is the point of writing in higher education ?
  • Academic writing is designed to operate as the principle means by which researchers, academics and students make visible their learning and knowledge.
learning and achievement through writing
Learning and Achievement through writing
  • Written texts form the primary means by which students across disciplines access information in higher education.
  • Writing is the most common way, across disciplines, that lecturers assess what students have learnt…but is this relationship between, knowledge, writing and assessment unproblematic ?
the metaphor of the glass
The metaphor of the glass
  • Definitions of good academic writing in higher education seem, on the surface, to be clear and transparent.
  • Like looking through a glass, the qualities that characterise ‘good’ or ‘appropriate’ academic writing, appear to be obvious and self-evident.
  • The language used to describe such qualities are remarkably consistent and appear across the sector and different disciplines in university mission statements, descriptions of ‘undergraduateness’, assignment titles and guidelines, assessment criteria and learning outcomes and lecturers’ feedback.
why when we look has it all gone dark
Why, when we look, has it all gone dark ?
  • Certainty around ‘good writing’ does not derive from any objective criteria in higher education (or elswhere).
  • Rather one could argue that the ‘rules’ or conventions that appear to govern academic writing, or at least inform the expectations around it, can be be understood as the product of what Foucault has called a ‘regime of truth’ (1980).
regimes of truth about writing
Regimes of truth about writing
  • Regimes of truth describe, systematise and ultimately normalise how individuals think and act within discourses (Foucault, 1980).
  • If viewed as one such ‘regime of truth’ the transparency, the obviousness, of so much of the discourse about students’ writing becomes more opaque.
what values and assumptions underpin lecturers attitudes to academic writing
What values and assumptions underpin lecturers’ attitudes to academic writing ?
  • It is illuminating to treat undergraduates’ writing and writing development as sites though which discourses of power and knowledge and pedegogies of learning within higher education can be explored and challenged.
Viewed in this way what appears obvious and uncontestable about ‘good writing’, may actually disguise complicated and entrenched manifestations of cultural power operating within and through higher education.
  • lecturers’ perceptions of students’ writing and writing development can be seen as emerging out of a ‘writing in higher education habitus’ which takes account of an individual lecturer’s past and present agency but which seeks to locate them in a discursive ‘field’ of higher education.
don t we tell them what we want them to do
Don’t we tell them what we want them to do ?
  • Lea & Street (1998), in interviews with lecturers about student academic writing, found that whilst lecturers emphasised notions of argument and structure as key elements to successful writing, they were unable to specify exactly what they meant by those terms.
synthesis isn t it obvious
Synthesis – isn’t it obvious ?
  • Putting theories into your own words
  • Writing the knowledge/things you’ve learnt in a certain way
  • Producing themes in your own words by bringing theories to enhance argument
  • Doing something with the knowledge you’ve learnt.
  • How you convey the knowledge you have
  • Stream my arguments
  • Produce theories in my own words
  • Produce theories and include them to enhance your own argument
  • Bringing your work and the texts you have read together
  • Bring together points
  • Find ideas that are similar to others
be explicit about what you mean
Be explicit about what you mean !

The different meanings of the comment/wording be explicit in one students’ writing over a number of written assignments:

  • make clear link between claim and supporting evidence;
  • avoid vague wordings (etc.)
  • check that it is clear what this, these refer to
  • make clear why a particular punctuation was used
  • say why aa particular section was included
  • make links between sections
  • show that you understand key terms [3]

(Lillis & Turner,2001)

Evaluative phrases and instructions about writing are anything but self-evident and indeed mean different things across a range of contexts. (Lillis & Turner, 2001).
becoming post structurally reflective
Becoming post structurally reflective ….
  • Reay (2004) argues that habitus will operate at an unconscious level unless disturbed by events that cause self-questioning.
  • “Habitus ….renders the ‘taken for granted’ problematic. …How well adapted is the individual to the context they find themselves in? How does personal history shape their responses to the contemporary setting? …Are structural effects visible within small scale interactions?

(Reay, 1995, p. 369)

reflecting poststructurally on writing
Reflecting poststructurally on writing ……
  • “Becoming poststructurally reflective often provokes educators to rethink and deepen their understanding of equity and its possibilities in their work by radicalising their understandings of power and knowledge ….in their settings (MacNaughton, 2006 p.5)
ways forward
Ways forward ?
  • Shift the emphasis away from a disourse about failing students and begin to critique our taken-for-granted assumptions about academic writing
  • Think about writing and supporting students’ writing in different ways
  • Encourage critical pedegogies around writing to emerge which will engage and support our more diverse student body
  • Barton, D., Hamilton, M. and Ivanic, R. (eds.) (2000) Situated Literacies: Reading and writing in context. Routledge London.
  • Fairclough, F. (1995) Critical Discourse Analysis. Longman: London.
  • Foucault, M. (1980) Power/Knowledge: selected interviews and other writings 1972-1977. Harvester: Brighton.
  • Gee, J. P. (1996). Social linguistics and literacies: Ideology in Discourses. Taylor & Francis: London.
  • Lea, M. & Street. B. (1998) Student Writing in Higher Education: an academic literacies approach. Studies in Higher Education, vol.23, no. 2. pp 157 - 172
  • Lea, M. & B. Street (2006) The "Academic Literacies" Model: Theory and Applications in Theory Into Practice, vol. 45, no. 4 November 2006 , (pp 368 – 377)
  • Lillis, T. & J. Turner (2001) Student writing in higher education: contemporary confusion, traditional concerns. Teaching in Higher Education. vol. 6. no. 1. pp. 64-73
  • Reay, D. (2004) 'It's all becoming a habitus': Beyond the habitual use of Pierre Bourdieu's concept of habitus in educational research Special Issue of British Journal of Sociology of Education on Pierre Bourdieu vol 25 no 4, pp 431-444
  • Reay, D. (1995) They employ cleaners to do that: Habitus in the primary classroom in British Journal of Sociology of Education vol 16 no 3 pp 353-371.
  • Mac Naughton, G. (2005) Doing Foucault in Early Childhood Studies. London: Routledge.