Managing tensions in academic writing for foundation learners

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Crossan, Sue
Jacka, Susie
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Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
academic literacy
foundation courses
Unitec courses
models of writing support
Academic Study Skills for Nursing
Crossan, S., & Jacka, S. (2014). Managing tensions in academic writing for foundation learners. New Zealand Journal of Teachers' Work, 11(1), pp.141-156.
This paper presents an analysis of a professional development initiative to promote sustainable literacy initiatives in our institution (Piggot - Irvine et al., 2010). We undertook an action research project to examine the effectiveness of our teaching of a writing assessment in two different semester cohorts. Academic Study Skills for Nursing aimed to help students seeking entry into a nursing programme to develop the necessary strategies and tools for managing academic study at degree level. However ,it was our experience that our students do not seamlessly receive the skills our course was initially designed to teach. This paper outlines literature relating to writing in higher education and compares the results of two cohorts, one receiving instruction from a study skills/academic socialisation perspective and another receiving instruction from an academic literacies perspective that explicitly acknowledges the tensions students must learn to manage in academic writing. Changes made to our teaching of a report writing assessment followed an academic literacies perspective that views writing as a process of meaning - making and the contestation around meaning, rather than learning compartmentalised skills (Carstens , 2012, p. 12 ). [The opinions expressed are those of the paper author(s) and not the New Zealand Journal of Teachers ’ Work] Our findings challenge a normative discourse of literacy acquisition that privileges a technical and linear model which positions non-traditional students’ literacy ractices as deficit (Coleman, 2009).
The New Zealand Journal of Teachers' work is supported by AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand.
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