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ERIC Number: EJ937527
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 37
ISSN: ISSN-1011-3487
Challenges and Potentials for Writing Centres in South African Tertiary Institutions
Archer, A.
South African Journal of Higher Education, v24 n4 p495-510 2010
There are many challenges involved in developing and running Writing Centres in tertiary contexts in South Africa. These challenges include recognizing the role Writing Centres need to play in the redress of basic academic literacies. They also involve emphasizing writing as a mode of learning where higher cognitive functions such as analysis and synthesis are developed through spoken and written language. Academic discourse takes a distinct written form, comprising often unspoken conventions which dictate appropriate uses of lexicogrammatical structures. Each discipline also has its own particular "dialect". Acquiring these "foreign" methods of communication poses a challenge to many students, not only English Additional Language students. One of the main challenges for Writing Centres is to provide access to academic and disciplinary discourses through making explicit how texts work in a critical manner, whilst at the same time inducting students into these discourses. This article examines some key tensions in Writing Centre practices in the South African context, including debates about decontextualization, skills versus practices, process versus genre approaches to writing, the challenges and opportunities of the one-to-one. It explores how the Writing Centre at the University of Cape Town tries to address some of these challenges, and looks at the potentials for Writing Centres in tertiary institutions. (Contains 1 table and 2 notes.)
Unisa Press. Preller Street, P.O. Box 392, Muckleneuk, Pretoria 0003, South Africa. Tel: +27-24-298960; Fax: +27-24-293449; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa