May 27, 2020

Recognizing the Importance of Discourse in Academics

With so many controversial topics in academics, the pursuit of knowledge must be the common goal. This thread is at the foundation of every form of research and connects those in opposing fields with a similar mission. Because of this, it’s crucial that scholars understand the importance of discourse in academics and how to engage in the process so that all sides understand the ultimate achievement is conversation and action for the sake of knowledge rather than the ability to prove one’s point as right.

The ability to participate in a conversation in which both parties have differing opinions is a skill that not everyone is able to master. This verbal debating method should be taught and honed in an academic setting before students head into the real world to engage in controversial and complex topics. But sometimes even those who are mentors, role models, and instructors to others have difficulty mastering this skill 

Academic discourse is an essential part of communicating with others in a classroom, professional, or research setting. Like other talents and skills, it must be honed in order to be perfected. Instead, many institutions choose to avoid subjects that could be considered controversial rather than encourage discourse on the topic. When students are taught to engage in discourse correctly, the emphasis becomes how to communicate rather than what is being said.

The Characteristics of Good Academic Discourse

The concept of discourse is the foundation of university learning. Without it, students don’t engage outside-of-the-box to use their critical thinking skills and promote problem-solving ideas in society. Accepting the ideas of someone who challenges your way of thinking, though, is an ability that must be guided.

In good academic discourse, certain characteristics are apparent. These attributes are necessary in order for the students to facilitate communication respectfully. Instructors must model and lead students during discourse into situations that include factors such as:

●      Student-chosen problems with their own solutions and an explanation of how the results were reached.

●      An emphasis on the importance fo vocabulary, enunciation, and punctuation. This is relevant to real-world situations in which the wrong word or nuance could change the entire meaning of the conversation.

●      The strategic guiding of the student to show their explanation to those with opposing views to challenge their way of thinking.

While these are important steps for students to learn as they engage in academic discourse, they’re also essential for scholars to keep in mind as they communicate with their peers and other experts.

Assumptions That Create Obstacles

As students become scholars, they develop their own sets of right and wrong when it comes to how to engage in discourse. Certain assumptions are contrary to others, and these opinions or subjective ideas can cause conflict during discourse, even as adults. 

Some common assumptions that can create situations in which those engaging in communication turn to conflict instead of discourse include:

●      The idea that content mastery is more important than the journey to get the knowledge. 

●      The basis of growth an achievement on measurements such as standardized tests and grades instead of holistic growth or project-based learning.

●      Placing the bar for rigorous education as an equal target to all students rather than moving it in an individualized way for each person.

●      Focusing on learning as a future-oriented concept, as in, how the student may need the information in the future, instead of concentrating on the goal of learning for the thrill of knowledge.

●      Using comparison to drive academic ideas, comparing student to student, course to course, school to school, or scholar to scholar, where others believe that a relevant idea is to be shared to help the growth of all.

●      Discounting anything that is not based on scientific evidence as an invalid source rather than accepting the idea that subjective ideas may have merit.

These controversial topics can become divisive to scholars in the nature of discourse. When a person feels vehement about an issue, no matter how learned they are, it’s easy to forget the basic traits of academic discourse and the idea that shared knowledge is more important than proving a point or being right.

When scholars work together to encourage academic discourse purely for the sake of knowledge, they become invaluable sources of information to those around them. As instructors or mentors to others, academic discourse done well promotes increased communication and improved learning, as well as enhanced problem-solving abilities for those who realize debate and disagreement does not need to equal arguments. 

Additionally, when scholars open their minds to academic discourse and the idea of learning instead of arguing, a deeper grasp of the knowledge being discussed is obtained. This satisfactory outcome makes an academic impact both inside and outside of the classroom.

Using Impactio to Drive Discourse

Impactio’s all-in-one platform is an intelligent way for scholars to promote their findings and publish their work through a professional program. The large community of other experts and peers gives those researchers looking to delve deeper into a subject area the opportunity to reach out to people in their field. 

Use Impactio’s academic profile setting to customize your information, share your impact with the world of academia, and review others. Through the network of expert scholars already on Impactio, you can improve your discourse skills and gain and share knowledge in any subject!

Tags Academic Impact Academia Research Achievement
Jason Collins
Jason is a writer for many niche brands with experience “bringing stories to life” for both startups and corporate partners.

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