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New Directions in Writing as a Learning Activity

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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter explains the development of the conceptualization of writing as a tool for learning. Firstly, much research on writing to learn has shifted from a domain-general writing across the curriculum approach, toward a domain-specific writing in the disciplines approach. Secondly, the assumption that the medium of writing inherently elicits learning, which was already widely challenged by 2001, has been superseded by research showing that the effects of writing on learning depend on the cognitive strategies of the writer, and more recently, that such strategies can be taught. Thirdly, there has been a shift from a focus on individual writers carrying out discrete writing activities, toward systems comprised of people implementing practices that combine writing with other kinds of representations and educational activities. Academic and professional writing are intertwined with the construction and internalization of knowledge.

Keywords: academic writing; curriculum approach; domain-general writing; learning activity; professional writing



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