What makes our writing ‘academic’?

#becomingeducational The year of sharing what it means to be a Learning Developer
As we said in our previous post – this is the year that we are being particularly tasked with working with librarians, personal tutors and other academics in re new aspects to their roles which include what we call Learning Development (but which is variously discussed as developing study and academic skills – fixing writing problems – improving retention – supporting at risk students – giving study skills advice).
We know that a key aspect of our work when Learning Developers was working with students on their assignments…
and that whilst for academic staff the main concern was the grammar, punctuation and spelling of the students – the main concern for the students themselves was a fear of getting it wrong – a fear of failure – and the fear of being made to look and feel a fool.
In an attempt to bridge the gap between tutor concerns and those of students – we are re-blogging this post from Julia Molinara – where she interrogates the nature of academic writing itself.
Perhaps this indicates a way of working with our own students?
Do share your strategies for helping students develop their emerging graduate/academic writing identities…
All the best,
Sandra & Tom

DoctoralWriting SIG

Our guest blogger this week, Julia Molinari, is an EAP (English for Academic Purposes) Tutor and PhD Researcher at the University of Nottingham in the UK. She is bilingual English/Italian and teaches academic writing to Home and International undergraduate and postgraduate students. Her PhD research focuses on ‘what makes writing academic’ and is supervised by the School of Education and the Department of Philosophy. She blogs at https://academicemergence.wordpress.com/ and tweets @serenissimaj and @EAPTutorJM.

By Julia Molinari

When you ask anyone this question—be they initiated or not—their answers will roughly cluster around the following features: its formality, linearity, clarity, lexical density, grammatical complexity, micro-macro structure (i.e., from paragraphs to whole-text organisation), intertextuality and citation, objectivity, meta-discursivity (Learnhigher; Bennett 2009; Bennett 2015, 6-8).

As someone who teaches academic writing to undergraduates and postgraduates with English as a first or additional language, I hear such answers all the time. And it’s…

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