Teaching of Writing in Higher Education

Authored by: Richard H. Haswell

Handbook of Research on Writing

Print publication date:  July  2007
Online publication date:  March  2009

Print ISBN: 9780805848694
eBook ISBN: 9781410616470
Adobe ISBN: 9781135251116

10.4324/9781410616470.ch21

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Abstract

How do students keep learning to write in college? Before World War II, even before the mid-1960s, the question rarely attracted researchers, but since then investigations and methodologies have burgeoned. A survey of that research is the aim of this chapter. Perforce the chapter dwells mainly on U.S. studies, because in tertiary institutions elsewhere formal writing instruction hardly exists to be studied. In German, French, and British universities, and in universities of countries whose educational systems are patterned after them, courses in composition usually cease with secondary schooling. Therefore, to study writing in college doesn’t “make sense,” as one German professor put it (Foster, 2002, p. 192). In one sense, however, the mystery is even greater where direct instruction in writing skills is lacking, for how then are the skills acquired? The research interest in student writing deepens, moreover, the further institutions depart from the narrow entrance selectivity of the prestigious European institutions. Research into the connections between college writing and college teaching is fast making a respectable place for itself, for instance, in the provincial and urban universities of Great Britain, Canada, and Australia—and of course has long had a place in every country where university English is written as a second language.

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