To Read in Advance, or Not to Read in Advance

#Becomingeducational                  It’s so nearly Christmas…
This week we’ve become engrossed in Dr Helen Webster’s reflection on the ways we work as Learning Developers – specifically she’s discussing issues around whether or not we should read samples of the student’s writing in advance of having a one-to-one with the student  – or – and possibly worse (?) – just reading and critiquing student writing without the student coming near us at all.

Helen makes the point that as part of our ALDinHE values, we are committed to working alongside students to help them make sense of academia… and if we are reading and working on *their* writing in our office, on the train, at home on the sofa… then we are literally not working alongside them: the students are far away and we are working only on their writing…

Whilst there are so many good reasons why committed learning developers might want to do this – including a commitment to and an understanding of the pressured, time-poor student – we are in practice saying: send me your work – and I will fix it for you!

In the end, despite the lack of resource of time and staff that is endemic in our profession, we have to work out what is in the best long term interest of the student – and what is in the best interest of the student and their understanding and development of their writing…

rattus scholasticus

This is another of the big questions in Learning Development practice. Does your one to one service require students to send a sample of work for the Learning Developer to read before the appointment, or do you ask them to bring it with them on the day so you can skim through it in situ?

This issue has implications for logistics and practice, but also fundamentally affects how we conceptualize Learning Development, so it’s worth giving serious thought to. My practice has always been in teams that don’t read work in advance, so it’s what I’m used to, but discussions with LDers whose services insist on written work in advance have been very useful in making me reflect on whether I practise this way because it’s familiar to me, or because there is a pedagogic justification for it. Having given it long thought, I’m sticking with No Work In Advance, for…

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Writing as … metaphors for loving writing

#Becomingeducational We’ve been thinking about writing…

Over the last few weeks we have been thinking about writing quite a lot: how best to scaffold student writing? How to help university staff help their students love writing? Tom’s also started a series of workshops: Creative Writing for Academic Success (well – you always have to pitch these things that way – you can’t just say: Hey – let’s try this – it’ll be fun and you never know, our writing might improve as well!)

So – in this heady writing atmosphere – it was great to spot this post from: Doctoral Writing – and what wonderful metaphors for writing…

DoctoralWriting SIG

By Claire Aitchison

Doctoral scholars, their supervisors and academics in general, all have intimate relations with writing. It’s our everyday world. Like any intimate relationship, this liaison has its ups and downs: there are times of love and hate, joy and bitterness, times when we resent writing and other times when it brings us comfort and delight.  Who hasn’t known what it’s like to fight and wrangle with writing late at night, exhausted, and wishing to cut the ties and run away forever?!

In this post – at the end of Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo) – I use metaphors to explore some of my relationships with writing.

Writing as tranceWriting can put me into a trance-like state so that I am totally unaware of the rest of the world. When I am deep in writing I am in an altered frame of mind, detached from time and…

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