The rationale of an itinerary of research, teaching, and promotion of WAC/WID/academic literacies in Argentina
3rd International Santa Barbara Conference on Writing Research Writing Research Across Borders. Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, 2008.
Dirección estable: https://www.aacademica.org/paula.carlino/101
ResumenThe scholarship and teaching of academic writing are endeavors only recently undertaken in Argentine universities. In this presentation, I trace the development of my ten years in the field to share a line of research and to discuss whether its underlying motives are idiosyncratic or general. My route has been guided by a blend of epistemological rationality, personal enthusiasm, commitment to democratic distribution of knowledge, rhetorical pursuit of data to make a case, and almost no budget. These influences shaped a research and action program consisting of seven partially overlapping stages of inquiry. The first one treated academic writing as a cognitive skill and researched, through draft analysis, how Psychology and Education undergraduates’ texts were revised during an exam. The second stage proceeded from the difference found between these Argentine students’ revisions compared to those of French and North Americans’ which had been reported in the inspiring literature of my study. After successive enlargements of the sample and repetitions of the procedure, I realized this difference was not cognitive but cultural, and attributed it to the dissimilarities of national instructional experiences regarding writing, which needed to be researched. This gave rise to a comparative study, through an extensive Internet search “discovering” realities previously unknown within Latin American literature, such as the Australian teaching and learning units and teacher development programs, and the North American writing centers, writing intensive courses, as well as the WAC/WID and academic literacies contributions. Almost simultaneously, the third line of work was a 6-year action research project, which tried out several reading and writing tasks in Psychology and Education courses involving guidance, dialogue and response. Particularly, I began to teach how to substantively revise a text through classroom discussions. The results of these two lines of inquiry, which I considered key to promoting the need to integrate writing support in the teaching of any university course, were used as arguments against local institutional indifference, teachers’ passive complaint, previous research focused on students’ difficulties, and consequent exclusion of those coming from families alien to the university. Stage four is a current project involving interviews with undergraduates and their teachers about how writing and reading are presented in different subjects, as well as analysis of the syllabi, assignments, and (scarce) teacher response, with the aim of providing detailed knowledge relative to actual practices and viewpoints. The fifth to seventh lines of inquiry are similar to the three former ones but regarding graduate studies. This itinerary has been productive in Latin America encouraging related research and being used as a reference in incipient attempts by institutions and individual teachers to incorporate writing to learn and learning to write in their disciplines. The questions my presentation leaves open concern how research problems and designs develop in other countries, and whether the factors detected in this case (the pursuit of international disciplinary contributions, researcher’s interests and values, sensibility to the local context, and the need of evidence for debate) influence the conception, execution, and publication of new research.