An Ecological Account of Student Writing in the Disciplines
The student in higher education engages in a highly complex range of contact situations, a central one being the student-staff contact zone. The paper explores how student writing in higher education can be conceptualised in order for the critical dimensions to be clearly understood. Academic staff need to understand more profoundly the complex ecology of student writing, including students’ struggles to creatively manage the tensions in disciplinary writing which are critical to disciplinary learning. The Candlin (1998) and Candlin and Hyland (1999) conceptual framework of texts, processes and practices sets up approaches which can be used ethnographically to research, and also pedagogically to develop resources for, student writing. An ecological approach to the study of student writing in the academy, I argue, must therefore take into account three dimensions: language as text; language as social process; and language as institutional practice.
Keywords: Student Writing, Higher Education, Disciplines, Ecological perspective, Learning
Associate Professor Rosemary Clerehan
Head, Language and Learning Services, Centre for Learning and Teaching Support, Monash University