A Text-Oriented Study of Placement Practices
2. Positioning the Study 21
21 2 Positioning the Study Writing is a complex act, integrally related to learning and knowing, and per- forms a variety of functions. (Dias et al. 1999:9) This study is aimed at investigating undergraduates’ enculturation into professional contexts during placement, with a primary focus on their adaptation to various discourse practices. Fundamental to the encul- turation is the occurrence of learning concomitant with the construc- tion of informants’ intermediate hybrid identities, i.e., as stu- dent-professionals. In this chapter, I therefore broadly position the current study within the realms of learning, writing and identities in relation to previous academic literature. The analytical perspectives taken on board in the current work have also been informed by genre studies, the Writing-Across-the-Curriculum (WAC) movement and Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL). Since the previous research work pertinent to these areas of concern is abundant, I have to be restrictive regarding the selection of the literature for discussion. First and foremost, the belief that writing is a learning tool forms the crux of the first part of this chapter. This is delineated firstly by situating learning within a historical account of the learning-to-write and WAC movements presented in Section 2.1, highlighting the paradigm shift from considering writing as solely a means of communication to valuing it as an essential tool conducive to learning (Tynjälä/Mason/Lonka 2001). This is relevant to the cur- rent study as writing in placement is an important indicator of STWs’ learning. The different theoretical conceptions of knowledge and learning, which cut...
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