Writing Games: Multicultural Case Studies of Academic Literacy Practices in Higher Education
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This book explores how writers from several different cultures learn to write in their academic settings, and how their writing practices interact with and contribute to their evolving identities as students and professionals in academic environments in higher education.
Embedded in a theoretical framework of situated practice, the naturalistic case studies and literacy autobiographies include portrayals of undergraduate students and teachers, master's level students, doctoral students, young bilingual faculty, and established scholars, all of whom are struggling to understand their roles in ambiguously defined communities of academic writers.
In addition to the notion of situated practice, the other powerful concept used as an interpretive framework is captured by the metaphor of "games"--a metaphor designed to emphasize that the practice of academic writing is shaped but not dictated by rules and conventions; that writing games consist of the practice of playing, not the rules themselves; and that writers have choices about whether and how to play.
Focusing on people rather than experiments, numbers, and abstractions, this interdisciplinary work draws on concepts and methods from narrative inquiry, qualitative anthropology and sociology, and case studies of academic literacy in the field of composition and rhetoric. The style of the book is accessible and reader friendly, eschewing highly technical insider language without dismissing complex issues. It has a multicultural focus in the sense that the people portrayed are from a number of different cultures within and outside North America. It is also a multivocal work: the author positions herself as both an insider and outsider and takes on the different voices of each; other voices that appear are those of her case study participants, and published authors and their case study participants. It is the author's hope that readers will find multiple ways to connect their own experiences with those of the writers the book portrays.
Yuko read novels in English. She came back for her second year refreshed, determined not to give up, more confi dent in her reading ability, and armed with new game strategies. For exam ple, she told Spack that she had stopped worrying about not being able to understand every word of every reading, was avoiding difficult readings when she had a choice of topics, and read differently according to the kind of text and to the treatment that text was given in her classes. She also learned to choose
environment. This need to find new ways to learn once students step into a profession is exactly what Aviva Freed man and Christine Adam (1996) concluded from their comparison of fourth year students doing simulated professional writing in an academic setting and graduate students doing workplace writing in an MA internship pro gram. The MA students found that their academic learning strategies that stemmed from explicit assignments and evaluation criteria did not serve them well in their much
manuscripts for publishers, and working on his own writing. By all accounts Jean and John were located on the stricter end of the continuum of teacher styles in the program. The other end was occupied by two professors in the "touchy-feely" camp whom I had heard about but whose classes I did not visit as part of my project. Jean and John were active professionally, writing and participating in conferences. The Classes and Assignments. Jean's Educational Research Methods class met twice a week for
"any aca demic writing": Karine, I must say this is a messy paper. I respect your opinion, but in any aca demic paper, you should back up your opinion with clear & convincing argu ments & analyses. One thing I don't follow is that how you can resent some thing you claim you don't yet quite understand. Krashen has his theories, and Gass & Selinker must have read & understood Krashen's theories before they began to critique them. If you don't quite understand either side, how do you know which
my allegiances. It is not that I had no stances at all. After taking a sociology class that seemed to be full of happily mentored students I was able to state with confidence, counter to my professor's claim, that some aspects of human behavior couldn't and shouldn't be turned into numbers. Why couldn't people in this class see that the serious game of turning "mo tivation" into a number didn't make sense to me? Although I had toyed with the idea of asking the professor to be my PhD advisor, I