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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. . . 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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.