I Know It When I See It
Uncovering Student and Educator Expectations about Academic Writing in Higher Education
Keywords:Academic English, Meta-awareness, Metalinguistics, Metadiscourse, Academic writing
A series of focus groups was conducted to obtain and compare attitudes held by undergraduate university students and educators about the nature of academic writing. Analysis of comments found misalignment of assumptions about the linguistic demands on students. Such misalignments were evident not only between groups but also within each population. A follow-up study involved two students recording impressions in journals about their own awareness of language use and demands, to trace any metalinguistic gains from participating in the focus groups. Data from this qualitative study are discussed in terms of the benefits of metalinguistic awareness and the need to uncover assumptions about what academic writing is in order to yield more informed teaching and deeper learning.
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