How your discipline might benefit from writing-intensive instruction
Writing-intensive instruction centres on teaching writing alongside discipline-specific content, thereby explicitly addressing discipline-specific modes of thinking and writing, which carry substantial weight in assessment.
We follow the lead of others who suggest that "high-level graduate attributes" such as writing skills are "most effectively developed in the context of discipline knowledge, embedded within disciplinary curricula rather than addressed by stand-alone strategies that are divorced or decontextualised from discipline content" (Barrie 271).
Further, the approach has strong influence from the pedagogy dealing with deep versus surface learning approaches (Ramsden; MacFarlane et. al.). This body of theory argues that students' concepts of learning and the contexts within which learning takes place influence their approach to learning. A deep approach to learning is characterised by an intention to understand - focusing on the concepts applicable to solving problems, relating previous knowledge to new knowledge - and has an internal or intrinsic motivational emphasis.
This project aims to foster a deep approach to student learning, creating delivery and writing tasks that situate the acquisition of writing skills within authentic disciplinary contexts and problems. Thus the approach facilitates knowledge development and skill acquisition in writing whilst simultaneously actively engaging students, fostering meaning and understanding and promoting an internal motivational emphasis. Such approaches include discipline specific topics, problems, exemplars and writing tasks through which skills are introduced in a scaffolded fashion.
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