Studenters skrivande i två kunskapsbyggande miljöer
The subject of this study is student writing in its institutional setting, examining students’ texts, professional discourse and educational practices. Fieldwork for the study was conducted at the departments of History and Economics of Stockholm University. The general aim of the study is to increase our understanding of the relationships between student writing, educational settings and professional discourse. The theoretical framework is the sociocultural approach as outlined by Wertsch from Bakhtin and Vygotsky, and applied on writing research by above all Dysthe. The theoretical-methodological attempts are an operationalisation of the concept of dialogicity in different aspects and an application of the concept of mediational means at the linguistic level of text type or speech act. The type of dialogicity and epistemology of a setting is shown to have major influences on students’ writing. The epistemology of economics is defined as rationalistic, and that of history as critical-pluralistic. In economics, linear logical reasoning with clear-cut solutions is a key mediational means, while reasoning with a multitude of perspectives is given precedence in history. Students adjust their texts to the kind of dialogicity in the setting. However, in interviews, some students, mainly in economics, exhibit a resistance to the epistemology and mediational means of their discipline. This resistance seems not to influence their texts, but in all probability the depth of their learning. In addition, the socialisation seems to be a more prolonged process in economics. The reasons may be that the mediational means have a weak connection to students’ previous knowledge and that they are not collectively applied in economics to the same extent as in history. Thus, a pedagogical conclusion is that the important mediational means of a discipline should be collectively applied during study. Moreover, student writing should be considered in relation to students’ previous knowledge, their course of study and their future professional activity.
Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation
Keywords:HUMANITIES and RELIGION; Languages and linguistics; Scandinavian languages; academic writing; student writing; academic disciplines; mediational means; cultural tool; dialogicity; higher education; knowledge construction; epistemology; discourse of economics; discourse of history
Date of Publication:01/01/2004