Academics Writing and Learning Together: Using Writing Groups to Promote Scholarship of Teaching

By Zelma Bone, Cathi McMullen and Deborah Clarke.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper reports on the use of a practitioner-research approach to evaluate writing groups as a way of helping academics become scholarly writers about their teaching experiences. Practitioner-research uses cycles of planning (to write), acting (writing), observing (reading) the texts produced and critically reflecting on the texts produced (self and feedback to others) and the process of writing itself. The practice of writing groups can be theorized as peer learning and engaging in a ‘community of practice’. Creating this community is helping one group of university academics learn how to write about their teaching practice, meet the pressure of external deadlines and, very importantly in the current political climate, meet the employment demands to research and publish. This paper describes the work over a nine month period of this writing group organized to help the academics in an Australian university increase their scholarly activity. The research documents efforts to organize the writing group, reviews research on writing groups, and identifies the benefits and the pitfalls of participation in a writing group and concludes with the success of creating a community of practice.

Keywords: Writing Groups, Teaching Practice, Practitioner Research

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp.289-298. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.144MB).

Zelma Bone

Course Cordinator, Lecturer, Business, Charles Sturt University, Orange, NSW, Australia

Zelma is an academic at Charles Sturt University, Australia and has a keen interest in improving teaching practice in universities using practitioner-reseach. She has been involved in several research projects in this area including much on embedding graduate capabilities within the curriculum; realising on the educational potential of student tours; and more recently the use of writing groups to increase collaboration and collegialty and the aim of publishing more about teaching practice. Zelma is a Course Coordinator of Management and Business Leadership and teaches in the management discipline.

Dr. Cathi McMullen

Lecturer, School of Marketing and Management, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

Cathi McMullen is a Senior Lecturer in Marketing at Charles Sturt University Australia. Her doctoral thesis ‘Developing and sustaining university teaching expertise in times of change’ has been followed up with a co-authored book ‘Teaching, learning and research in higher education: a critical approach’ (Routledge 2009). Cathi’s research activities in education are focused on two areas: (1) higher education and academic practice (with a particular interest in scholarly writing) (2) marketing education for practice and work integrated learning.

Dr. Deborah Clarke

Lecturer, School of Human Movement Studies, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, NSW, Australia


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