PEER WRITING TUTORS HELP INTERNATIONAL, INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDENTS TO STAKE THEIR CLAIM

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter

Abstract

Writing well is central to academic success, but writing skills are not always taught
explicitly. This is especially problematic in international, interdisciplinary
programs where such skills help students from diverse backgrounds to develop a
shared vocabulary of writing and tools to decode their new academic context.
We tackled this issue by hiring and training peer writing tutors to encourage new
students to learn writing skills (motivational scaffolding) and to help them
understand how to improve their writing (cognitive scaffolding). Our student
learning outcomes focused on making and supporting a main claim properly
supported by evidence. We assessed student learning through analysis of their
essay text and reflection papers, as well as surveys sent to both students and tutors.
We found that peer writing tutors helped to motivate students to understand why
and how to make claims in academic writing. Focusing on citing sources as
evidence for claims revealed that nearly a third of the class had not fully
understood appropriate citation despite previous training, leading to plagiarism
warnings, which required ongoing exercises and discussion to address. Tutors benefitted from participating in terms of improving their writing and honing
teaching skills.
We conclude that peer tutoring is an effective strategy to help both students and
tutors across disciplines, nationalities, and writing experience levels to become
better and more reflective writers through reinforced motivation and scaffolded
skill-building, and that collaboration across traditional departments and roles in
the university linking teaching staff, support staff, and students was an effective
and enjoyable way to promote interdisciplinary learning.

Details

Authors
Organisations
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDiversity in Education: Crossing cultural, disciplinary and professional divides
EditorsNaoko Tojo, Bernadette Kiss
PublisherLund University
Pages33-60
ISBN (Print)978-91-87357-20-6
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedNo