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Teaching Writing in Higher Education: Who Takes on the Task in Argentina?
Carlino, Paula.
63rd Annual Convention Conference on College Composition and Communication. National Council of Teachers of English, St. Louis, Missouri, 2012.
The paper describes how writing is dealt with in Argentine universities. In general terms, writing is ubiquitous in the Social Sciences. Students usually have to write for assessment purposes but receive scant guidelines and less feedback from their teachers. Writing is regarded as a prolongation of a generalizable skill that should have been previously learnt, a conduit to convey already-formed thoughts. In the last 15 years, writing needs of university students have become visible and some institutions began to offer a four-month writing course, usually at the beginning of the studies or as a shorter entry course. These courses are often conceived as remedial devices and teach grammar, punctuation, forms of citation, type of discourses (explanation, argumentation, and description), or more specific topics, such as writing for exams, writing essays, writing from readings, etc. General or specific, contents are taught as a transferable knowledge with the expectation that students can apply it afterwards to the rest of the courses. There are nevertheless a few "writing-in-context courses". Based on situated learning theories, these unusual courses try to help students for the present and not for the future. They teach how to write a specific text for a particular audience, a text that students have to write at the time they are learning how to write it. In addition, being aware that they are promoting academic enculturation, these courses have been designed to help students take part in authentic practices of writing, instead of teaching a declarative knowledge or a decontextualized technique. Two other initiatives regarding writing are present in Argentine universities: On the one hand, there is one university in the surroundings of Buenos Aires that has developed in the last decade a unique program following the Australian model of "team teaching", for teaching writing in the disciplines. This is an institutional program developed to foster partnerships between a writing teacher and a lecturer of a specific subject matter. On the other hand, some teachers across the disciplines take care of student writing. They interweave writing in their courses with the purpose of helping students learn disciplinary contents. "Interwoven" writing in the disciplines implies a teaching model in which writing assignments are integrated or intertwined in class activities to support students learning disciplinary contents. This model differs from "sewn" writing in the disciplines, in which teachers include writing in their classes as an added element in the fringes of the course (the teacher asks to write and then assesses student products). Examples of these four initiatives are analyzed. OTHER AUTHOR'S PAPERS IN: / VER OTRAS PUBLICACIONES DE LA AUTORA EN:
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