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Making the implicit explicit: A strategy for developing doctoral writing skills

This workshop will focus on the conference theme of partnership (doctoral students and generic learning developers) and how it can contribute to student success. Since the late 1990s many factors have affected doctoral education, including the significant increase in enrolments and the diversification of the student body (for example, age, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds). Nevertheless, in many disciplines doctoral students are still expected to master the writing conventions of their research communities through observation or trial and error. More worrying, supervisors are often at a loss as to how to assist students with their written work, which can result in vague or incomplete writing advice. Recognizing a need for writing development, most universities provide generic, one-to-one support for doctoral students. Although such sessions are useful, an individualized approach is time-consuming and misses an essential component in writing development – the use of language and group activities to both encourage and mediate learning. It was this understanding that led to the establishment of our weekly, cross-disciplinary conversation about writing programme, the Doctoral Writing Conversation (DWC) at the University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. This workshop will begin with a brief description of the DWC, and the overall goals of our dialogic approaches will be described. Participants will then complete, one of the activities we use to help students become aware of, and understand academic voice – the ability to communicate complex research ideas in a clear, well-organized, and academically robust manner. Intended learning outcomes of the workshop include recognition and understanding not only of the concept of academic voice, but also how a generic, dialogic writing development programme can be used to help doctoral students become empowered as independent writers.
Conference Contribution
Type of thesis
Johnson, E. M. (2016). Making the implicit explicit: A strategy for developing doctoral writing skills. Presented at the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada.
© 2016 copyright with the author.