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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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8. Conclusion and Reflection 215


215 8 Conclusion and Reflection [R]eflective practice [is …] a process that is undertaken in response to a positive or negative event that may be initiated consciously or subconsciously, that requires analysis to provide an answer or insight. (Chapman/Dempsey/ Warren-Forward 2009: 167) This chapter first summarises the major findings of the study with regard to the research questions set out in Chapter 1, and then highlights the ways in which this study illuminates the understanding of the discourse of learning to write professional genres in the context of placement and the linguistic aspects of a community of practice (CoP). The contributions of this study will thus be outlined in terms of theory, methodology and pedagogy. After that, I will state the limitations of this workplace research mainly with respect to data collection and then extrapolate from the findings to look at implica- tions for further research. 8.1. Summary of major research findings This section will begin by restating the constituents of placements. Then I will summarise the major empirical findings of this study in order to answer the research questions (RQs) set out in Chapter 1, which can be reinterpreted in two dimensions: (1) discourse of learning-to-write in placement and (2) construction and manifestation of the textually derived interpretation of roles in relation to STWs’ social identities. At the end of this section, the concept of practice will be revisited in relation to these three dimensions. 216 8.1.1. The constituents of placement This study argues for a more complex understanding...

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