Relationship between written genres and academic identity: Argumentative writing learning in higher education students in Colombia

Submitted by: Maria Juddy Torres Villamil
Abstract: Academic literacy is currently a focus of enormous interest for researching in higher education. Its main objective is the training of students to understand and write texts within academia, thus ensuring their academic success and coaching them to enter to the knowledge society. Though, academic literacy is not an easy issue, especially concerning writing skills (1). Some difficulties are placed in student’s concepts regarding two aspects: writing (seen as a mere instrument to communicate knowledge) and the very identity of apprentices (who perceive themselves as subjects who communicate ideas to be evaluated). Both ideas point out a double need (2): a) approaching academic writing as a tool to learn by communicating, and b) supporting the construction of learner's academic identity. Many works have explored points a) and b) by approaching academic genres. Our research matches with this perspective, but with a nuance: it emphasizes on “academic writing situation” and discursive genres (not all of them academic in nature) in it deployed. Works developed in Spain and Chile show the possibilities of this approach to improve writing skills and to construct an academic identity (3). Relying on a mixed quantitative-qualitative methodology (questionnaires, interviews, corpus analysis, classroom observation, etc.) we explore the writing of Colombian students in an academic situation, with special emphasis in argumentation. Some first results point out that both, students and institutions, operate on the concept of “type of text”, which enhances a dominant linguistic vision in teaching writing and a focus on the final texts. This suggests the need of a shift in approaching academic literacy and the relevance and potentiality of drawing on academic writing situations. Keywords: Academic literacy, academic identity, discursive genres, argumentative writing, academic writing situation

1.Olave et al 2013 Deserción universitaria y alfabetización académica (The College Dropout Problem and Academic Literacy). Educación y Educadores, 16(3), 455-471.
2.Camps & Castelló, 2013 La escritura académica en la Universidad (Academic writing at University). Revista de Docencia Universitaria, 11(1), 17- 36
3.Uribe, 2016 Los géneros discursivos en situación de escritura académica (Discursive genres in academic writing situation). Barcelona: UAB