“Looking away”: private writing techniques as transformational text shaping

Thomas, Peter and Armstrong, Thomas (2015) “Looking away”: private writing techniques as transformational text shaping. In: 8th Biennial EATAW conference 2015 (European Association for the Teaching of Academic Writing), 15th - 17th June 2015, Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn, Estonia.. . [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Despite the relatively long history of the private writing techniques of “journaling” and “generative writing”, their potential remains largely underexploited in the field of academic writing instruction. They tend to be seen as forms of pre-writing, particularly within approaches such as process writing and writing to learn (e.g. Britton, 1970; Emig, 1977). Drawing on Derrida’s characterisation of drawing as “looking-away” (Saltzman, 2006 p.5) and Vygotsky’s conception of “inner language” (Vygotsky, 1962), this presentation throws new light on these private writing techniques. We argue they are transformational due to the space they allow writers for self-reflection and looking away from their public-facing outputs.
The paper discusses instructional interventions in different disciplinary contexts (art/design & natural science) with writers of different levels of expertise/competence (undergraduates and doctoral candidates) in L1 and L2 contexts. We argue that techniques like these can be effective in a range of settings.
In the case of the artist/designer-writers the private writing took the form of iterative, generatively written explorations of conceptual elements of their future public-facing output (pieces of visual art/design work). For the natural scientists the private writing took the form of writing journals in which novice scholars recorded their personal thoughts, evolving insights and reflections on the doctoral writing process, which helped shape their public-facing research outputs.
In both cases, we found that these private writing techniques were transformational beyond writing, providing significant motivational benefits and helping to shape our students’ sense of “self as author” (Ivanic, 1998 p.32).

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Keywords (uncontrolled): Journaling Generative writing Private writing Writing and identity Reflective writing Writing in art and design
Research Areas: A. > Learning Enhancement Team (LET)
Item ID: 17278
Notes on copyright: Access to full text restricted pending copyright check.
Depositing User: Peter Thomas
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2015 14:05
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2021 02:51
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/17278

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