Writing for success: mentoring as a pedagogical tool – a cross- institutional study

Jane Andrews, Robin Clark

Research output: Unpublished contribution to conferenceAbstract


The prominent position given to academic writing across contemporary academia is reflected in the substantive literature and debate devoted to the subject over the past 30 years. However, the massification of higher education, manifested by a shift from elite to mass education, has brought the issue into the public arena, with much debate focusing on the need for ‘modern-day' students to be taught how to write academically (Bjork et al., 2003; Ganobcsik-Williams, 2006). Indeed, Russell (2003) argued that academic writing has become a global ‘problem' in Higher Education because it sits between two contradictory pressures (p.V). On one end of the university ‘experience' increasing numbers of students, many from non-traditional backgrounds, enter higher education bringing with them a range of communication abilities. At the other end, many graduates leave university to work in specialised industries where employers expect them to have high level writing skills (Ashton, 2007; Russell, 2003; Torrence et al., 1999).

By drawing attention to the issues around peer mentoring within an academic writing setting in three different higher education Institutions, this paper makes an important contribution to current debates. Based upon a critical analysis of the emergent findings of an empirical study into the role of peer writing mentors in promoting student transition to higher education, the paper adopts an academic literacies approach to discuss the role of writing mentoring in promoting transition and retention by developing students' academic writing. Attention is drawn to the manner in which student expectations of writing mentoring actually align with mentoring practices - particularly in terms of the writing process and critical thinking. Other issues such as the approachability of writing mentors, the practicalities of accessing writing mentoring and the wider learning environment are also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010
EventWriting Development in Higher Education Conference - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 28 Jun 201030 Jun 2010


ConferenceWriting Development in Higher Education Conference
Abbreviated titleWDHE 2010
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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