Academic Writing: The Key to Student Retention?

Badenhorst, Cecile (2011) Academic Writing: The Key to Student Retention? The Morning Watch, 38 (3-4). ISSN 0384-5028

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It is widely recognized that writing is central to teaching and learning in post-secondary contexts. Writing is also, almost certainly, a key to student success and retention. The response of universities around the world has been to establish Writing Centres and these have played a pivotal role in helping students succeed. However, as is argued in this paper, there should be a broader responsibility to develop student writing. Academic writing is fraught with hidden rules and implicit discursive practices that are often discipline specific. Far from being a discrete and separate ‘skill’, writing is part of a complex network of social practices conducted within different academic discourses. This insight is crucial because it is a prerequisite for making meaningful pedagogic recommendations. Academic writing requires an understanding of shifting and competing discourse requirements, how the ‘self’ is bound up in writing, how authority is constructed, how language is shaped and shapes, how some ways of writing are privileged and others not, and what is valued in this context. The paper unpacks several ways in which the requirements of academic writing can be made more explicit.

Item Type: Article
Item ID: 6058
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 2011
Date Type: Publication
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