Supporting Lecturers in the Disciplines in the Affective Academic Writing Process
Keywords:Academic writing, Affective writing, Blended learning, Critical incidents, Professional development, Reflection
This article reports on a case study evaluating lecturers' experiences of their own affective writing process using a reflective critical incident analysis. While the cognitive-affective focus of academic writing has been explored previously from a collaborative perspective (Benton et al. 1984), this current study takes the individual writer as the unit of analysis. There are several reasons why lecturers need to write. Foremost among these should be that when they write, they are providing a positive model for students, and are helping to demystify the act of writing. Scholarly writing can be a struggle, and by doing so ourselves, we learn empathy for our students. In reality, many lecturers are facing the need for increasing their publications output. In terms of writing for publication, Murray (2013) has advised that busy academics must develop productive writing processes, and this may mean changing writing behaviours.
Affective conditions such as sense of class community, self-efficacy and writing apprehension are known factors affecting writing behaviour and performance. A blended accredited professional development module entitled ‘Writing and Disseminating Research’ is discussed as a way to afford lecturers opportunities to develop writing skills that may also promote positive affective conditions. Data suggests that the pedagogic intervention resulted in greater confidence in terms of participants’ critical writing skills and provided a suitable environment for affective conditions to flourish. Four themes emerged from the analysis of the critical incidents on writing apprehension: self efficacy, the role of external sources on affective writing, peer feedback and class community. Future research would explore the sustainability of the process extending into the lecturers' own practice with their students.