Student Perceptions of First Year Writing


In their initial term of university life, first-year writing students often carry with them habits from high school, especially in a writing classroom. They perceive the General Education course, English 1101, as a “necessary evil” of the core curriculum that has nothing to do with their career aspirations. With those perceptions often come a lack of engagement. Using two writing assignments about discourse communities of their personal and academic lives, this presentation will discuss (and share) activities that bring students to a new awareness of literacy and identity’s place in the university setting. Theoretical concepts from Writing Studies, linguistics, and educational psychology ground the assignments and allow students to practice metacognitive strategies for understanding how rhetoric and discourse are not only learned but are also acquired every day of their lives (Adler-Kassner & Wardle). In particular, as students describe and analyze some of their personal discourse communities, they start to recognize how their belonging to various groups fits Gee’s definition for “discourse” in his article “What Is Literacy?” With that awareness, they write about the academic discourse communities in their current term, identifying and analyzing how the instructor attempts to have students practice one of the eight Habits of Mind that the Framework for Success in Post-Secondary Writing document asserts as essential to a college student’s survival.


Writing, Metacognition, Post-secondary


Learning in Higher Education


Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


  • Kathy Albertson
    • Associate Professor of Writing & Linguistics, Coordinator of First-Year Writing, Writing & Linguistics, Georgia Southern University