Using DDL to support students writing in unfamiliar genres

Megan Bruce, Durham University

Since 2012 we have been building the FOCUS corpus at Durham University Foundation Centre.  This is a collection of “good” (2:1 or First) Durham student writings at undergraduate and postgraduate level across a range of academic disciplines. We have used this corpus and our bespoke concordancing software to support the academic language development of students studying in various departments at Durham University. Our latest grant has supported us in designing corpus-based teaching activities for students who are producing assessments using text types that are new to them.  This talk discusses our Write on the Edge project where we have worked with final year dissertation students in Chemistry, level 1 Sport students writing their first lab report and PGCE students writing reflections to help them to produce assignments in genres with which they are unfamiliar. This talk demonstrates how corpus-based teaching activities have been successful in helping students who are not language experts to understand how language works through a DDL approach.  Student feedback shows the extent to which they value the DDL methodology as it allows them to take control of their learning and is less intimidating than using the metalanguage of more traditional EAP teaching.

Slides: Write on the edge – Bruce

Video of talk (links to YouTube): Megan Bruce – supporting students writing in unfamiliar genres