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ERIC Number: EJ1147916
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1029-8457
Outsiders Looking In: Tutor Expertise in Engineering Writing
Bengesai, Annah
African Journal of Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, v19 n1 p95-104 2015
Drawing on an academic literacies approach, this article explores the representations of technical communication by non-content expert tutors teaching the Technical Communication for Engineering course at a South African university. The course is offered to all first year engineering students as a developmental academic literacy course. It is administered by an engineering academic and taught by language specialists. The purpose of this exploration was to examine how the various representations of technical communication permeate academic practice and inform pedagogical practice and attitudes to learning. The data were drawn from a recent doctoral study in which a total of 31 tutorials were observed over a 13 week period. Ten tutors and 24 students were also interviewed. The findings of this study show that the tutors acted as members of the discourse community they came from and employed "orders of discourses" that they were familiar with to influence their teaching. As a consequence, their experiences of the humanities rhetoric to a greater extent influenced the way they approached technical writing. This finding points to an articulation gap between language tutors' conceptions of their role in the development of technical communication and the needs of the students. Furthermore, the findings question the extent to which these tutors, who themselves did not have access to engineering Discourse (drawing on Gee's concept of small discourse and big Discourse) were adequately prepared to initiate students into the same Discourse.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A