‘Looking Away’: Private Writing Techniques as a Form of Transformational Text Shaping in Art & Design and the Natural Sciences

Peter Thomas, Thomas Armstrong

Abstract


Despite their long history and wide-spread use, the private writing techniques of journaling and freewriting remain largely underexploited in the field of academic writing instruction. They are seen only as forms of pre-writing, and are criticised by some for being under-theorised, vague and asocial. Contextualizing them within a writing-as-social-practice approach, and drawing on a conceptual framework including a notion of looking-away developed by Derrida, Vygotsky’s conception of learning development, and Ivanic’s notion of writer identity, this paper aims to throw new light on these private writing techniques and argues they can be transformational in developing students’ learning and identity, as well as written and non-written outputs.

In this paper we theorise these practices through reflection on two instances of teaching in which they played an important part. The teaching interventions were in different disciplinary contexts (Architectural Design and Natural Sciences), with writers of different levels of expertise/competence (undergraduate and PhD), in both L1 and multilingual settings.

In both interventions, we found that these private writing techniques were transformational due to the space they allowed writers to self-reflect, and to look away from their public-facing outputs. The techniques provided significant developmental benefits and moved the students along a continuum towards a more expert-like identity.

 


Keywords


Doctoral writing; Writing for Art & Design; Freewriting; Journalling; Development of writer identity; Novice-Expert continuum

Full Text:

PDF


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18552/joaw.v6i1.289

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.