Student writing in higher education: contemporary confusion, traditional concerns

Lillis, Theresa and Turner, Joan (2001). Student writing in higher education: contemporary confusion, traditional concerns. Teaching in Higher Education, 6(1) pp. 57–68.



In this paper, we focus on the 'problem' of student writing in higher education. We set out to explore this problem from two perspectives: first, from the perspective of 'non-traditional' student-writers as they attempt to engage in academic writing and, second, from the perspective of a cultural-historical tradition of scientific rationality. A common frame of reference for these perspectives we see as a 'discourse of transparency', whereby language is treated as ideally transparent and autonomous. We illustrate how this discourse of transparency is currently enacted and historically situated. We argue that current academic practices need to be located within a broader historical and epistemological framework both in order to reach a deeper understanding about what's involved in student writing and in order to inform meaningful pedagogies.

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