“Looking away”: private writing techniques as transformational text shaping

Conference paper


Thomas, P. and Armstrong, T. 2015. “Looking away”: private writing techniques as transformational text shaping. 8th Biennial EATAW conference 2015 (European Association for the Teaching of Academic Writing). Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn, Estonia. 15 - 17 Jun 2015
TypeConference paper
Title“Looking away”: private writing techniques as transformational text shaping
AuthorsThomas, P. and Armstrong, T.
Abstract

Despite the relatively long history of the private writing techniques of “journaling” and “generative writing”, their potential remains largely underexploited in the field of academic writing instruction. They tend to be seen as forms of pre-writing, particularly within approaches such as process writing and writing to learn (e.g. Britton, 1970; Emig, 1977). Drawing on Derrida’s characterisation of drawing as “looking-away” (Saltzman, 2006 p.5) and Vygotsky’s conception of “inner language” (Vygotsky, 1962), this presentation throws new light on these private writing techniques. We argue they are transformational due to the space they allow writers for self-reflection and looking away from their public-facing outputs.
The paper discusses instructional interventions in different disciplinary contexts (art/design & natural science) with writers of different levels of expertise/competence (undergraduates and doctoral candidates) in L1 and L2 contexts. We argue that techniques like these can be effective in a range of settings.
In the case of the artist/designer-writers the private writing took the form of iterative, generatively written explorations of conceptual elements of their future public-facing output (pieces of visual art/design work). For the natural scientists the private writing took the form of writing journals in which novice scholars recorded their personal thoughts, evolving insights and reflections on the doctoral writing process, which helped shape their public-facing research outputs.
In both cases, we found that these private writing techniques were transformational beyond writing, providing significant motivational benefits and helping to shape our students’ sense of “self as author” (Ivanic, 1998 p.32).

KeywordsJournaling Generative writing Private writing Writing and identity Reflective writing Writing in art and design
LanguageEnglish
Conference8th Biennial EATAW conference 2015 (European Association for the Teaching of Academic Writing)
Publication dates
Print15 Jun 2015
Publication process dates
Deposited20 Jul 2015
Output statusPublished
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