Understanding student writing from lecturers’ perspectives: acknowledging pedagogic complexity to support transformative practices in context

Coleman, Lynn and Tuck, Jackie (2020). Understanding student writing from lecturers’ perspectives: acknowledging pedagogic complexity to support transformative practices in context. Studies in Higher Education (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2019.1711043

Abstract

In South Africa, inequalities endemic to HE systems worldwide are further compounded by apartheid legacies. Despite an intensive focus for over twenty years on how pedagogic intervention could be harnessed to address these inequalities, black students’ participation and success rates in South African HE remain stubbornly low, suggesting a need for fresh perspectives. This paper draws on a study conducted in a South African vocational university to illuminate the complex nature of lecturers’ writing pedagogies. It does this by placing lecturers at the centre of detailed qualitative enquiry, a relatively rare focus in student writing research. We show how lecturers understand student writing development and how their pedagogies are informed by language ideologies operating within and beyond the university. Findings suggest the need to engage with the complex lived experiences of lecturers in order to promote deeper pedagogical change, both in South Africa and the HE sector more widely.

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