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Caribbean Journal of Education

How Changed Attitudes to Academic Writing and its Instruction May Enhance WAC

Publication Date: 
September 2008

In this article, the author draws on the findings of a previous study of the history of writing instruction at UWI, Mona, to argue that academics' attitudes to writing and its instruction throughout most of the six-decade history of the institution suggest that large numbers of "content" faculty may not readily address the component of Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) which requires them to be directly involved in students' writing development. This component— “writing to communicate" - overlaps with the first — "writing to learn" — but may more appropriately match the objectives of faculty who desire better writing from students. Since "writing to communicate" is informed by a social view of knowledge and writing, the author proposes that enlisting rhetoric may help academics abandon con ventional but inaccurate views of writing and realize desired improvements in students' writing in disciplines and beyond. Underlying this proposal are suggestions for both improving individual students' writing and strengthening the fledgling WAC programme.

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