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Making writing invisible: A Study into the Complexities of Standard Written English Acquisition in Higher Education

Hill, Patricia Ann (2008) Making writing invisible: A Study into the Complexities of Standard Written English Acquisition in Higher Education. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

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    Abstract

    Higher education in the UK has changed from a system catering for an elite, to one which
    aims to improve the potential of over 40% of young people (Clark, 2003). Whilst not rejecting
    the idea of education for its own sake, this thesis suggests that one of the purposes of this
    mass higher education is to fit students for employment. It maintains that for students
    studying English and Media, this purpose includes the ability to produce Standard Written
    English. It examines the complexities involved in producing English and Media graduates
    who have this competence and explores the power relationships involved in teaching and
    assessing writing. The theories of Bourdieu are used to give a perspective on the use of
    Standard Written English as an important aspect of cultural capital which distinguishes
    members of the educated discourse community. Using written work and interview data from
    fifteen English and Media undergraduates at one university, plus written tutor feedback and
    comments, it considers the reasons why students might not meet the criteria set. It challenges
    the notion that because spelling, punctuation and grammar are ‘surface features’, achieving
    competence in using them is easy or relatively unimportant. In firmly rejecting the ‘student
    deficit’ approach, this thesis maintains that there is a need to openly acknowledge different
    literacies, their social consequences and the complexities involved in changing writing habits.
    This acknowledgement then necessitates a curriculum which includes genuine opportunities
    and encouragement to acquire a valuable asset. It is suggested that in doing so, the UK higher
    education system can move a step further away from its elitist, gatekeeping function and
    closer to delivering meaningful qualifications and relevant expertise to those students whose
    employment prospects are linked to written communication.

    Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
    Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
    P Language and Literature > PE English
    Schools: School of Music, Humanities and Media
    Depositing User: Lauren Hollingworth
    Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2010 16:38
    Last Modified: 28 Jul 2010 19:59
    URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/8119

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