Department of Writing Studies

Permanent URI for this collection

Work by the faculty and students of the Department of Writing Studies


Recent Submissions

  • Publication
    Moving from plagiarism police to integrity coaches: assisting novice students in understanding the relationship between research and ownership
    (BioMed Central Ltd, 2021) Vaccino-Salvadore, Silvia; Buck, Rachel
    Much of the discourse surrounding plagiarism is one of fear—a fear of being caught and punished, but many plagiarism examples happen unintentionally as students struggle with a new language, new ideas, and new communities in tertiary education. Specifically, many students are challenged with the task of writing a research paper, which involves finding academic sources, reading those sources to answer a research question, and integrating direct quotations and paraphrasing. Because novice writers often struggle with these skills, what is a developmental stage is instead interpreted as plagiarism. Much of the discussion of plagiarism involves implicit and explicit definitions of ownership, but there is little research about how students understand the concept of ownership in relation to ideas and language. In this qualitative study, we present data from 18 international students at an American-style university in the Middle East who write an introductory research paper as part of a composition course. Results show that perceptions of plagiarism changed in relation to owning ideas, owning language, and owning time spent on the research process and that distinguishing these boundaries is often difficult for students even within their own final research papers. We suggest teaching more robust note-taking strategies, discussing ownership in terms of a writer’s choices in guiding readers through the paper, and creating an environment where students can understand the complexities of plagiarism rather than simply fearing being caught.
  • Publication
    Perceiving Emotions, Facilitating Thought, and Promoting Growth: Using Emotional Intelligence as an Effective Teaching Technique in the Freshman Composition Classroom
    (Common Ground Publishing, 2016-06) Reid, Zofia; Sayed, Sana
    One of the key issues in teaching writing to students in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is that they come from diverse high school contexts. Some students have never been formally taught in English, and even those who were have very limited experiences because they learned English as a subject rather than as a mode of communication across the high school curriculum. Students also have individual learning styles, different personalities, and a myriad of learning disabilities that can make the rite of passage from being a high school student to a university scholar a nightmare experience, especially at the freshman level. This is where a teacher's level of emotional intelligence (EI) becomes the key element to resolve any problems students will face when transitioning to university students. Research suggests that students favor classrooms where the EI of the teachers is perceived as high. The purpose of this survey-driven research is three-fold: to briefly discuss the factors that complicate the teaching of writing in the MENA region; to describe, through action research, how emotional intelligence helps bridge the learning gap; and to understand, from the teacher and student's perspective, how emotional intelligence influences classroom effectiveness and chart its benefits from a pedagogical perspective. Teachers' emotional intelligence should not be overlooked as an important component for student learning, and should be promoted as a skill that needs to be developed for maximum teacher effectiveness.