Participatory appropriation as a pathway to self-regulation in academic writing: the case of three BA essay writers in literature
Paper in proceedings, 2016
Apprenticeship in academic prose is a transformative experience (Hayot, 2014), and this paper investigates the development of self-regulation in three bachelor (BA) literature essay writers using the theoretical lens of participatory appropriation by Rogoff (1990, 2008), which seeks to explain how individuals undergo processes of development thanks to, and in interaction with, the social interaction. Students who learn to self-regulate towards concrete, achievable writing goals obtain higher levels of writing performance, i.e. text quality (Rogers & Graham, 2008; Graham, McKeown, Kiuhara & Harris, 2012; Graham & Perin, 2007). Metacognitive skills are integral to the development of genre knowledge and rhetorical effectiveness (Negretti, 2015). We thus investigate how interaction with a supervisor helps students orient themselves towards genre/discipline-relevant writing goals, how do they self-regulate towards these goals, how it helps students aligning with the stakeholders’ (the examiners) evaluation of the quality of writing. Data was collected through in-depth, qualitative interviews at three points in the term; interview data was also collected from the examiners after defense. Data was coded and analyzed in NVivo, using Pintrich’s (2004) heuristic. Results show that frequently students explicitly reported on or imagined the interaction with their supervisor: a sort of “dialogic think-aloud”. These dialogues often discussed genre-relevant aspects such as what the essay should aim for (genre goals) and what would be the expectations to meet (genre criteria), providing the basis for a variety of SR behaviors. Despite its limitations, this investigation responds to calls for context-sensitive inquiries of self-regulation and metacognition, were individual development is highlighted against the backdrop of the social context in which it is embedded (Azevedo 2009; Pieschl, 2009).
writing to learn
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