Graduate Student Writers

Assessing Needs across the “Linguistic Divide”

Authors

  • Peter F. Grav University of Toronto
  • Rachael Cayley University of Toronto

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/wap.v7i1.17236

Keywords:

English for academic purposes, genre-based pedagogy, graduate writing, IMRD research article, L1 and L2 English speakers, writing pedagogy

Abstract

Genre analysis has become an important tool for teaching writing across the disciplines to non-native English-speaking (EL2) and native English-speaking (EL1) graduate students alike. Since the pressing needs of EL2 graduate students have meant that educators often teach them in separate classes, and since genre-based research into teaching higher-level writing has been largely generated in fields such as English for Academic Purposes, we have an insufficient understanding of whether this instructional mode plays out similarly in EL1 and EL2 classrooms. Launching a genre-based course on writing research articles in parallel sections for EL1 and EL2 graduate students provided an opportunity to address this knowledge shortfall. This article qualitatively examines the different classroom behaviors observed in each version of the course when a common curriculum was used and specifically explores three key themes: initial receptivity, nature of student engagement, and overall assessment. Our study shows that although EL2 and EL1 learners have similar needs, the obstacles to their benefitting from genre-based instruction are different; EL2 students must learn to identify themselves as needing writing support that transcends linguistic matters, while EL1 students must learn to identify themselves as needing writing support despite their linguistic competence. Providing the same mode of instruction can benefit both populations as long as educators are sensitive to the specific challenges each population presents in the classroom. The insights gained contribute to the scholarship on genre-based teaching and offer ways of better meeting the needs of EL1 and EL2 students alike.

Author Biographies

Peter F. Grav, University of Toronto

Peter F. Grav is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Graduate Studies, University of Toronto, where he teaches a wide range of courses and workshops on graduate academic writing and speaking. His current research examines how authors of published research articles in the humanities cite their primary and secondary sources, a topic upon which he has spoken at national and international conferences. The author of Shakespeare and the Economic Imperative (Routledge, 2008), as well as several articles on early modern drama, he was awarded his Ph.D. at the University of Toronto in 2005.

Rachael Cayley, University of Toronto

Rachael Cayley is a Senior Lecturer in he School of Graduate Studies, University of Toronto, where she teaches a wide range of courses and workshops on graduate academic writing and speaking. She maintains a blog on academic writing for graduate students, Explorations of Style (www.explorationsofstyle.com), and her current research is on the ways that dissertation supervisors support the development of academic writing. Rachael holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the New School for Social Research.

References

Bazerman, C. (1994). Systems of genres and the enactment of social intentions. In A. Freedman, & P. Medway (Eds.), Genre and the new rhetoric (79--101). London, UK: Taylor and Francis.

Belcher, D. (2004). Trends in teaching English for specific purposes. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 24: 165--186.

Berkenkotter, C., & Huckin, T. N. (1993). Rethinking genre from a sociocognitive perspective. Written Communication, 10(4): 475--509.

Bhatia, V. K. (1993). Analysing genre: Language use in professional settings. London, UK: Longman.

Bhatia, V. K. (1999). Integrating products, processes, purposes and participants in professional writing. In C. N. Candlin, & K. Hyland (Eds.), Writing: Texts, processes and practices (2--39). London, UK: Longman.

Brett, P. (1994). A genre analysis of the results section of sociology articles. English for Specific Purposes, 13(1): 47--59.

Bruce, I. (2008). Academic writing and genre. London, UK: Continuum.

Bruce, I. (2009). Results sections in sociology and organic chemistry articles: A genre analysis. English for Specific Purposes, 28(2): 105--124.

Cheng, A. (2006). Understanding learners and learning in ESP genre-based writing instruction. English for Specific Purposes, 25(1): 76--89.

Cheng, A. (2007). Transferring generic features and recontextualizing genre awareness: Understanding writing performance in the ESP genre-based literacy framework. English for Specific Purposes, 26(3): 287--307.

Cheng, A. (2008). Individualized engagement with genre in academic literacy tasks. English for Specific Purposes, 27(4): 387--411.

Coe, R. M. (2002). The new rhetoric of genre: Writing political briefs. In A. M. Johns (Ed.), Genre in the classroom: Multiple perspectives (197--210). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Dressen-Hammouda, D. (2008). From novice to disciplinary expert: Disciplinary identity and genre mastery. English for Specific Purposes, 27(2): 233--252.

Flowerdew, J. (1993). An educational, or process, approach to the teaching of professional genres. ELT Journal, 47(4): 305--316.

Flowerdew, J. (2002). Genre in the classroom: A linguistic approach. In A. M. Johns (Ed.), Genre in the classroom: Multiple perspectives (91--104). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Flowerdew, L. (2000). Using a genre-based framework to teach organizational structure in academic writing. ELT Journal, 54(4): 369--378.

Holmes, R. (1997). Genre analysis and the social sciences: An investigation of the structure of research article discussion sections in three disciplines. English for Specific Purposes, 16(4): 321--337.

Hopkins, A., & Dudley-Evans, T. (1988). A genre-based investigation of the discussion sections in articles and dissertations. English for Specific Purposes, 7(2): 113--121.

Hyland, K. (2002). Authority and invisibility: Authorial identity in academic writing. Journal of Pragmatics, 34(8): 1091--1112.

Hyland, K. (2003). Genre-based pedagogies: A social response to process. Journal of Second Language Writing, 12(1): 17--29.

Hyland, K. (2004). Disciplinary discourses: Social interactions in academic writing. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.

Ivanic, R. (1998). Writing and identity: The discoursal construction of identity in academic writing. Amsterdam, NL: John Benjamins.

Johns, A. M. (2008). Genre awareness for the novice academic student: An ongoing quest. Language Teaching, 41(2): 237--252.

Lim, J. M. H. (2006). Method sections of management research articles: A pedagogically motivated qualitative study. English for Specific Purposes, 25(3): 282--309.

Martin, J. R. (1992). English text–systems and structure. Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins.

Martin, J. R. (1997). Analysing genre: Functional parameters. In F. Christie, & J. R. Martin (Eds.), Genres and institutions: Social processes in the workplace and school (3--39). London, UK: Cassell.

Martin, J. R., & Rose, D. (2008). Genre Relations: Mapping Culture. London, UK: Equinox.

Miller, C. (1984). Genre as social action. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 70(2): 151--167.

Nwogu, K. N. (1997). The medical research paper: Structure and functions. English for Specific Purposes, 16(2): 119--138.

Peacock, M. (2002). Communicative moves in the discussion section of research articles. System, 30(4): 479--497.

Sullivan, P. A. (1991). Writing in the graduate curriculum: Literary criticism as composition. Journal of Advanced Composition, 11(2): 283--99.

Swales, J. M. (1990). Genre analysis: English in academic and research settings. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Swales, J. M. (2004). Research genres: Explorations and applications. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Swales, J. M., & Lindemann, S. (2002). Teaching the literature review to international graduate students. In A. M. Johns (Ed.), Genre in the classroom: Multiple perspectives (105--119). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Thompson, D. K. (1993). Arguing for experimental ‘facts’ in science: A study of research articles results sections in biochemistry. Written Communication, 10(1), 106--128.

Widdowson, H. G. (1983). Learning Purpose and Language Use. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Published

2015-06-13

How to Cite

Grav, P. F., & Cayley, R. (2015). Graduate Student Writers: Assessing Needs across the “Linguistic Divide”. Writing & Pedagogy, 7(1), 69-93. https://doi.org/10.1558/wap.v7i1.17236

Issue

Section

Research Matters