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Strategies for Supervising Graduate Student Writing. Anthony Paré January 2010. Objectives of the session. to address issues related to the supervision of graduate student writing to share best practices and successful techniques to consider a variety of writing strategies

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Presentation Transcript
objectives of the session
Objectives of the session
  • to address issues related to the supervision of graduate student writing
  • to share best practices and successful techniques
  • to consider a variety of writing strategies
  • to identify topics for future workshops and seminars
group discussion
Group discussion
  • what problems do you experience in the supervision of writing?
  • what techniques have you found most helpful?
  • what support or assistance do supervisors need?
some assumptions
Some assumptions
  • writing is hard intellectual work
  • academics are professional writers
  • academic writing varies across disciplines
  • supervisors are teaching discipline-specific ways of thinking and writing
  • writing problems are often signs of confusion
  • there are no quick fixes
a brief history of contemporary writing research and pedagogy
A brief history of contemporary writing research and pedagogy
  • writing as a process
  • writing and cognition
  • writing and the disciplines/professions
  • writing as knowledge-making
  • writing the dissertation
the canons of classical rhetoric
The canons of classical rhetoric
  • invention
  • arrangement
  • style
  • memorization
  • delivery
a brief history of contemporary writing research and pedagogy7
A brief history of contemporary writing research and pedagogy
  • writing as a process
  • writing and cognition
  • writing and the disciplines/professions
  • writing as knowledge-making
  • writing the dissertation
a brief history of contemporary writing research and pedagogy9
A brief history of contemporary writing research and pedagogy
  • writing as a process
  • writing and cognition
  • writing and the disciplines/professions
  • writing as knowledge-making
  • writing the dissertation
the problem
The problem

. . . I have found smart, accomplished colleagues in other disciplines who have little vocabulary for discussing writing beyond the corrective grammar they learned in high school. Although they have learned the genres of their profession and are successful in them, their reflective ability to manipulate them is limited because of a lack of linguistic and rhetorical vocabulary and analytical methods. Their fairly developed language practice has not been professionalized or transformed through internalizing those disciplinary knowledges which would provide them a more sophisticated stance. (Bazerman, 2009, p. 289)

an example interview
An example (interview)

Su: … it’s a very formal exercise, undertaking research for a PhD, in presenting the work in the actual thesis, and so I need to sort of enforce certain conventions.

Int: Right, and whose conventions are those? Where do those conventions come from?

Su: Well I – that’s an interesting question. I suppose they come to [student] filtered through me, so as a supervisor I suppose at the end of the day it’s my view of what is a convention, and I suppose my view is formed partly by seeing other theses. But I’m not sure that’s the answer. I’m not really sure where.... I’m not sure I can answer it. I have a view. Obviously it must come from somewhere. But I don’t know where. I don’t know where we decide how we do this.

another example supervision session
Another example (supervision session)

Su: I’ve read what you’ve done and [can] tell you … my thoughts on how it might be somewhat strengthened, because I think the information is there but I have two main points about it. One is that it should be maybe a bit more focused. More focused on it being a chapter within a PhD thesis…. The other general comment is to, I don’t know, firm it up, I suppose. Because it’s a data collection chapter, I’d like more numbers, I suppose…. Kind of more strongly represent what you’ve done. So my general feeling is that the chapter itself … should be put within a slightly bigger box for the committee.

establishing a working relationship
Establishing a working relationship
  • what are your expectations?
  • what are the student’s expectations?
  • what is your role?
  • what will happen during supervision sessions?
  • how long will feedback take?
  • how will the student receive feedback?
  • will you talk about your relationship?
strategies for writing getting started
Strategies for writing: Getting started
  • brainstorming, freewriting
  • setting goals
  • planning
  • considering readers
  • considering contributions
  • considering structure
  • talk, talk, talk
strategies for writing setting goals
Strategies for writing: Setting goals
  • what should each chapter do?
    • chapter one? lit review? methods? discussion?
  • what should sections of chapters do?
    • introductions? summaries? conclusions?
  • what about tables, charts, appendices, etc.?
  • use active verbs to set goals: argue, propose, explain, describe, demonstrate, prove, contrast
strategies for writing getting started20
Strategies for writing: Getting started
  • brainstorming, freewriting
  • setting goals
  • planning
  • considering readers
  • considering contributions
  • considering structure
  • talk, talk, talk
strategies for writing planning
Strategies for writing: Planning
  • prepare a writing schedule (weekly, monthly)
  • set deadlines and turn-around times
  • distinguish types of draft (rough, second, final)
  • set new goals, plan after each meeting
  • articulate the problem to be solved
strategies for writing getting started22
Strategies for writing: Getting started
  • brainstorming, freewriting
  • setting goals
  • planning
  • considering readers
  • considering contributions
  • considering structure
  • talk, talk, talk
strategies for writing readers
Strategies for writing: Readers
  • who are the dissertation’s readers?
  • what are your expectations/standards?
  • what are the committee’s expectations?
  • what are the discipline’s expectations?
  • any other readers?
strategies for writing getting started24
Strategies for writing: Getting started
  • brainstorming, freewriting
  • setting goals
  • planning
  • considering readers
  • considering contributions
  • considering structure
  • talk, talk, talk
writing and structure
Writing and structure

Su: And I think that the problem is that, if you go off on a wobble with this and sort of zigzag a bit, you’re going to piss the reader off, okay?

*** 

Su: So, it’s about a bridge. You’ve got to think about a reader and about how the reader is approaching this, you know?

***

Su: It’s rather like you are providing them with a map across a particular landscape. And you’ve got to keep reminding them where they’ve been, where they’re at, and where they’re going. And that’s something that you’ve got to do throughout the whole damn enterprise. You just do it with a few sentences here, maybe a paragraph here at the end of a chapter, and so on.

writing and structure26
Writing and structure

Su: I think at the moment there are too many details and distractions. I think it meanders and I think we need much more of a flow, a structure, a straight road here.

***

Su: The thing is that the way you’ve thrown it together, it doesn’t really flow. I mean, I think it’s more of a mosaic, a mosaic which is kind of . . when you look at it, it’s not necessarily making any sense. You know those sort of pictures that psychologists use [Rorschach tests], and you have to keep looking at them really hard before you make sense of an image, right? It’s a bit like that at the moment.

strategies for writing getting started27
Strategies for writing: Getting started
  • brainstorming, freewriting
  • setting goals
  • planning
  • considering readers
  • considering contributions
  • considering structure
  • talk, talk, talk
strategies for writing talking
Strategies for writing: Talking
  • vary types of feedback
  • start with positive comments
  • encourage elaboration, re-statement
  • talk to anyone, everyone
strategies for writing drafting
Strategies for writing: Drafting
  • start anywhere
  • ignore the editor
  • articulate problems, blocks, uncertainties
  • draw, graph, chart, outline ideas and links
  • review plans, goals, outlines often
  • read other theses, dissertations
strategies for writing revising editing
Strategies for writing: Revising, editing
  • re-visiting goals, purpose, outline, introductions
  • re-considering readers
  • reading aloud
  • handbooks
  • http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/
strategies for writing other possibilities
Strategies for writing: Other possibilities
  • writing groups
  • journal clubs/reading groups
  • sample papers on file/website
  • attention to texts as texts
  • peer tutoring
  • handbooks
  • http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/
strategies for writing writing courses
Strategies for writing: Writing courses

ESLN 640: FUNDAMENTALS OF ACADEMIC WRITINGFOR GRADUATE STUDENTS.

3 credits; 3 hours. Restriction: open only to graduate students for whom English is a second language. Focus is on structuring an academic essay and expressing complex ideas. Multiple drafts. Independent learning strategies for academic reading, critical thinking, vocabulary building, and self-editing. Review of writing mechanics.

strategies for writing writing courses33
Strategies for writing: Writing courses

ESLN 690: WRITING FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS.

3 credits; 3 hours. Restrictions: open only to graduate students for whom English is a second language. Not open to students who haven taken ESLN 590. Audience, purpose, organization and style of graduate-level academic writing. Mechanics. Editing. Textual analysis. Critical thinking. Genres: problem-solution, general-specific, process description, data commentary, article summary/critique. Student work-in-progress. ESL diagnosis-correction. Multiple drafts. Extensive feedback including audio-taped commentary and individual course.

strategies for writing writing courses34
Strategies for writing: Writing courses

EDEC 635: ADVANCED WRITTEN COMMUNICATION

AWC is designed to meet three, related objectives. First, it offers an opportunity to conduct a collective inquiry into the nature and practice of academic writing in various fields and in various genres. Second, it provides a writing workshop in which to develop the quality and effectiveness of writing. Third, it allows students to explore, in and through writing, a topic or topics of particular interest to you.

some helpful books
Somehelpful books

Aitchison, C., Kamler, B. & Lee, A. (Eds.) (2010). Publishing pedagogies for the doctorate and beyond. London: Routledge.

Giltrow, J. (2002). Academic writing: Writing and reading across the disciplines. 3rd ed. Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press.

Hyland, K. (2004). Disciplinary discourses: Social interactions in academic writing. Ann Arbor, MI: U of Michigan Press.

Kamler, B. & Thomson, P. (2006). Helping doctoral students write: Pedagogies for supervision. London: Routledge.

conclusion
Conclusion
  • comments? questions?
  • what next?
  • what other sessions would be helpful?
  • what specialized topics might we address?