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Learning to Write as a Professional: Engineers and Health Professionals in the United Kingdom and Germany

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Chapter Summary

It is a key professional skill to be able to create texts which are comprehensible not only within a professional community, but also to external stakeholders and clients. However, professionals often appear unable to produce written communication appropriate to task and context. In particular, the fields of Technology and Health are often regarded as sources of unclear and confusing written texts. The foundations for appropriate writing skills should be laid during professional education; yet there is confusion about relevant requirements, goals and pedagogical methods. This might reflect context-specific academic traditions or professional orientations. Approaches to learning to write in the education of professionals were investigated by means of a survey in the UK and Germany. Responses were sought from students, specialist subject teachers, writing teachers, and practitioners in two contrasting fields, namely Engineering and Health. The questionnaire data support the view that there are marked differences amongst the groups of respondents in their experiences and in their views, but considerable scope for development through exchange of good practice. The robustness of the conclusions is, however, constrained by the limitations of the survey method. In the conclusion complementary research strategies are outlined whereby understanding of these issues may be further advanced.



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