Academic Writing as Embedded Skills Acquisition for Transition to Higher Education: An Example from a UK University Classics Department

Richard Hawley


This paper presents an intervention that was created in a United Kingdom university Classics department where approximately 60% of undergraduate students came from diverse educational backgrounds to study classical Greco-Roman culture, but had not studied it before at school/college. To equip these more than usually diverse ‘transition’ students with a skills base to aid both their academic progress and future employability, a team-taught mandatory module was designed for first term, first-year undergraduates, which embedded two workshops and an assessment exercise on academic writing with eight workshops on other skills, most of which are both discipline-specific and ‘transferable’. The in-term assessments tested understanding of the skills taught, while a final exercise required students to reflect on their longer learning process over the term, evaluating development in their academic writing in the context of other discipline-specific skills. This module serves as a model for adoption both within academic departments and also at an institutional level for early stage academic writing training in a subject-related context, which can serve as a first step on a longer ladder of skills acquisition over the degree for enhancing both academic success and employability awareness.


Academic Writing; Marking Criteria; Diversity; Skills Acquisition

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