School writing practices, writing development and academic writing – how can they be combined in a coherent and effective schooling path?

Conference Paper

Comunicação efetuada no "Writing Research Across Borders IV (WRAB 2017)", Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. Bogotá, Colombia.
Many people all over the world would agree in recognizing the reading and writing difficulties of many students attending higher education. Several approaches to this question have been developed, following diverse theoretical perspectives, but the problem persists. Portuguese universities are not an exception and many of their students are struggling in dealing with academic literacy issues.
Based on the analysis of the Portuguese reality, the aim of this text is to discuss academic literacy, placing the question beyond the borders of higher education.
We start by defining higher education as a context that demands specific and complex language uses. Then we analyze students’ reading and writing difficulties, taking into account not only the complexity of the practices involved but also students’ literacy practices in other school levels and in other contexts beyond school. Among the factors that underlie such difficulties, we may refer the contrast between reading and writing tasks students are expected to perform in higher education and those they used to perform at lower school levels as well as the gap between their language uses outside school and those implied in academic activity.
We also analyze different approaches to academic literacy, with reference to their theoretical bases.
As a conclusion, we present an extensive and comprehensive model of academic literacy enhancement that considers the student’s whole schooling path and other contexts and language uses outside school.
This work is funded by CIEd – Research Centre on Education, projects UID/CED/1661/2013 and UID/CED/1661/2016, Institute of Education, University of Minho, through national funds of FCT/MCTES-PT.


Year of publication: 2017


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