Making inter-disciplinary spaces for talk about and change in student writing and literacy development

24 Apr 2013

This paper discusses the role of a writing centre in creating spaces for talk about and change in disciplinary writing pedagogy. It asks how collaborative partnerships between disciplinary academics and Writing Centre practitioners might be established and nurtured sustainably. Drawing on insights from two collaborations with academics in political studies and law, the article asserts that writing centre practitioners play a valuable role in talking about and changing the way academic writing and literacy is taught in the disciplines. This is shown by working consistently with the understanding that critical reading, thinking and writing are literacy acts rather than generic skills and must therefore be learned and practiced in the disciplines. By supporting disciplinary academics in re-examining course outcomes, materials and assessments, and moving away from a ‘skills approach’ to writing, it is shown that building discipline-specific spaces for writing and literacy development is possible through these collaborative partnerships.