Why do we teach our students how to reference? Mendeley, EndNote, Refworks, etc. all do it for you. In my experience the emphasis for students in higher education is almost always on what the citation looks like and not on the work the citation does. When it comes to learning about referencing for students, the focus is almost always on:
Plagiarism: If you don’t reference, you’re stealing.
Format: If it doesn’t conform to [insert style guide], it’s wrong.
This is problematic. The first point begins with the assumption that our students are cheats and frauds. I prefer not to go into the relationship with that as a starting frame of reference. The second point is irrelevant because style guides explain exactly how to format the citation and software formats it for us.
What matters is that students understand the underlying rationale of attribution and of building on the ideas of others. I’m way more interested in talking about ideas with my students, than on where the comma goes. Instead of talking about the importance of referencing maybe we should aim to instil in students a love of ideas. Sometimes those ideas originated from someone else (citation required) and sometimes those ideas are your own. What does the world look like when we use ideas – some our own and some from others – to think differently? That seems like a more interesting conversation to have.
Narrative means towards literacy understandings: exploring transformations within literacies and migrating identities
Last week I attended a short seminar by Dr. Catherine Hutchings from UCT, who presented some of the results of her PhD study looking at academic literacy and student identity. Here are some notes I took during the seminar.
How do students develop new means of constructing identity as they move from high school into higher education?
Repositioning identities → have personal / social / professional identities outside university, but on moving into HE can feel lost and disorientated. Participants in this study had broken formal educational journeys, no writing background. They had established social and professional identities but lowly academic identities
Their education history was transmissive, rather than constructive
Journals can be a pedagogic method, but became data capture owing to richness of reflections. The journal started as an access route into academic spaces, incorporating their experiences, attempting to promote the development of reflective and critical thinking
Students were afraid of writing
Narratives: the stories we tell about our lives changes our perspectives on them
Referencing, language, technology, the library are “pillars of the great hall of alienation”. They serve as barriers to the transition into HE
How does “agency” become apparent? How is it evident? Referencing, use of authority, engagement with readings, argument…but before HE, agency is not directly evident…it is not voiced
Through using the voice of others, we come to know our own voices
Can take a lot of discussion before students see referencing as an asset