Student Writing and Academic Literacy Development at University
This paper considers the role of student academic writing in subject learning at university. It makes the case for embedding student writing and academic literacy pedagogy in curricula in the contemporary context of higher education in the UK. It begins with a critical review of discourses and practices in the last two decades and how student writing, as a vehicle for learning and acculturation into higher education practices and values, has been largely marginalised. It outlines the salient features of an alternative framing - the academic literacies approach – and the potential that it affords research into the student experience with writing and assessment. Evidence from the literature indicates that in the present context the need to integrate academic literacy pedagogy into mainstream curricula is more important than ever if higher education institutions are going to address their concerns with student retention, academic performance and learning gain. Practical approaches to integrating academic literacy pedagogy gleaned from the literature are critically discussed. A consensus which advocates the embedding of student writing and academic literacy as the most effective method is identified. Finally, the case is strengthened by considering current contextual challenges facing universities in the UK.
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