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Learning to Become a Professional in a Textually-Mediated World

A Text-Oriented Study of Placement Practices


Ken Lau

The book presents a text-based study of discourse practices in placement, a hybrid zone which re-contextualises academic knowledge and professional practices. Using Lave and Wenger’s Communities of Practice as the overarching theoretical framework, the study investigates how novices learn to write like their professional counterparts. By collecting texts completed in various placement contexts and in-depth qualitative interviews with informants, the study features a multi-dimensional approach to the analysis of discourse practices in terms of text construction and text consumption. The issues of genre, feedback, identity and role associated with placement learning are brought into focus.


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Acknowledgements 11


11 Acknowledgements The support of a number of people gave me the strength and energy to complete this book. I would like to thank them wholeheartedly: First and foremost, Greg Myers, my PhD supervisor at the Lancaster University, UK who offered extensive constructive feedback on my thesis drafts and inspired me throughout my PhD journey. This book is based on my PhD thesis, so without him, it would not have come to fruition. All my other teachers and course mates at the Lancaster University who made my life there so fruitful and intellectually- stimulating. My current and former colleague-friends from the Centre for Applied English Studies, the University of Hong Kong who always give me moral support and are there for me when I need them. David Gardner and Agnes Lam, in particular, not only always value my work and offer encouragement, but also act as my mentors and role models showing me how to work professionally. The series reviewer and editor for their valuable comments on the manuscript. My research assistant Jacqueline Lai who helped edit the book chapters and did all the typesetting work so meticulously. Cambridge University Press (CUP) and American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) for their permission to reprint Figure 1 on p.30 (CUP), Figure 2 on p.33 (CUP) and Figure 3 on p.121 (ASIA). Last but not least, my family for their patience and love – my parents, two elder brothers, sister-in-law and nephew have created an ideal ‘learning context’ for me to pursue my dream...

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