Yes, let's get rid of the real/ inauthentic disstinction. And what if we
stopped worrying about preparing students to write "outside the school"
altogether? They are, afterall, inside a university. I like Lave and
Wenger's term "legitimate peripheral participation", which i see as
happening in a space that's not 100% familiar, that does not feel 100%
authentic, but at least is a legitimate and a supportive place to practice.
Still, can students really 'own' their writing there?... Are they not
indeed appropriating "authoritative" discourses? and does it not take a bit
of imagination -- or the "inventing [of] the university" -- everytime they
sit down to write?
I don't know much about how to prepare students to write in other contexts
-- I like to help students learn to write in academic ones. That context
is readily apparent to them and real (woops). So, primarily I think they
need exposure to authentic (woops again) academic texts -- they need to
immerse themselves in reading them, talking about them and writing about
them. Then, hopefully, they can begin to pose the sorts of questions that
are being asked in their disciplines, and think of ways to answer them.
And part of the reading, talking and writing can be done from a discourse
or genre analysis perspective, to give them a means to interrogate the
discourse practices they are being asked to engage in. Maybe the latter
can apply to workplace writing, too, so that classroom writing "in"
workplace genres is less of a focus than reading, talking and writing
_about_ workplace genres.
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