Training a scholar to use academic language in writing serves a purpose. As a researcher, you’re writing to your audience of a publisher’s readership or those who want to learn about your topic. It’s an academic lesson, not meant for engaging and entertaining through narrative discourse.
But this type of writing typically begins and ends in the research on the paper, when it has many other uses. With the right contexts and purposes, academic language can be used to promote conversations both in and out of the classroom, taking ideas from the paper and bringing them to life in relevant ways.
Teaching Academic Writing
At the higher education level, teaching academic writing to students is a focal point of every subject. From math to science to literature, the ability to write intentionally for academic purposes is a necessity. The majority of a student’s assessments are based off their comprehension as evidenced through a written response that includes a framework of mechanics and structure.
Teaching these skills in higher education is typically built from an expected foundation of other criteria that should have been addressed and learned before high school graduation. Application of these skills in university settings allows students to both develop their abilities and showcase knowledge that they obtained in the course that they are writing in.
Students are expected to be able to write to different audiences and in response to multiple texts, such as essays and primary sources. Moving into research projects, these foundational skills morph into a new structure with different formatting and guidelines, higher vocabulary, and stricter expectations.
But academic writing is not only good for subject development; it’s also a great way to encourage academic literacy in general, enhance the vocabulary of second language learners, and apply linguistic measures until they become rote habits.
Structuring Academic Discourse Through Writing Skills
Progressing this style of conversation into verbal discourse requires setting specific purposes. Today’s society has encouraged the style of “dumbing down” conversations rather than raising the bar. By structuring opportunities for academic discourse the way we structure our writing, both written and oral language skills are developed and strengthened.
The most important way to do this is to establish a purpose in the conversation. As the instructor is able to pinpoint to the students where the academic strength needs to be connected, the learner is able to give their attention to the content and language as directed. This is done by setting specific objectives to work towards, including social conventions.
Moving Academic Discourse into Social Arenas
Typically, if a scholar begins a conversation that includes academic language in a regular social arena, they’re quick to find themselves ostracized. But there is a way to encourage academic discourse in social situations and not make it awkward.
By creating opportunities in the classroom for academic talk through group work, it establishes a familiarity in students to know what to expect when they find themselves in these types of higher-level conversations outside the classroom. As younger students, this was not a typical situation they’d expect to find themselves in. But as academics in higher institutions who are striving towards professional fields of research and science, it’s a disservice as a professor to avoid encouraging them to set the bar of conversation higher than the typical standards in society.
As routines and expectations for a polite conversation on an academic level are set in the classroom, students can take these skills into other social arenas with them. Regular conversations in which a student must be able to explain their thoughts to someone else with multiple versions, both higher and lower, is an academic skill that sharpens their own understanding of a topic and also allows them to adjust their conversational tone and vocabulary usage for their audience.
Through applied academic discourse, the strategies of setting a purpose for a conversation and writing, albeit speaking, to an audience are integrated into social conventions without the need for a lowered bar.
Impactio: The Academic Writer’s Tool of Choice
Discourse is important to any academic field, as is the writing tools the scholar chooses to work with. When you’re a busy researcher already dividing your time between too many responsibilities, you need a writing platform that has everything in one place, like Impactio.
With Impactio, you can create professionally published documents and web pages, view your academic impact through citation indicators, and connect with a global following of other experts in the Impactio network. Spend less time putting together your work and more time doing what you love when you use Impactio for your research needs.