Jonathan Collett, UTS: Insearch
Collaborative writing for Academic English

Can a collaborative approach to teaching writing in an academic context help students to transform ideas they read for the creation of new texts? Can pair writing help students to evaluate their own work? This action research project looked at the use of collaborative writing to help students voice evidence-based ideas in their own words, and the use of peer feedback to help students improve the grammatical accuracy of their own writing.

This innovation is based on the idea that a fluent understanding of language involves the ability to take part in social conversations. Lessons which are designed to develop students’ skills in this area, should encourage students to build on each other’s responses and develop as a community of learners.

This is a student-centred approach to delivering lessons which involves a deconstruction, and then a collaborative reconstruction of texts, with lessoning degrees of teacher involvement and more emphasis on co-collaboration. Through this process of collective scaffolding, a huge amount of knowledge students produce can be transferred into students’ individual language production. By encouraging learners to take ownership of their own learning, this approach can have a positive impact on student motivation.

Jonathan is an English language teacher at Insearch: University of Technology Sydney. Jonathan has worked in the education industry for over a decade. With a background in ESL, he has worked with students in a variety of educational contexts, from primary through to tertiary education. As a student of language, studying Korean language at Yonsei University in Seoul, he has a particular interest in student motivation for language learning, exploring how and why we learn and use second languages.