LD@3: Paraphrasing as an Inherently Interpretive Act

Media Type: Slides, Video
Resource Duration: 60 minutes
Number of downloads: 2

Paraphrasing is a challenging skill for most higher education students to master, and although explicit paraphrasing instruction and multiple opportunities for feedback are exactly what students need in order to progress, they are relatively rare in undergraduate courses. Learning Developers are in a unique position to provide students with robust instruction and practice in this complex skill, which is essential for integrating sources in academic writing and for developing academic integrity literacy.

Paraphrasing instruction tends to take a somewhat mechanistic and often decontextualised approach. Practice activities commonly ask students to transform 1-2 sentences at a time, out of context, and the underlying assumption of these activities is that paraphrasing is “a faithful recast of the original text” (Shi et al,, 2018, p. 32). This type of practice deprives students of the opportunity to grapple with important questions that are integral to authentic academic writing – questions pertaining to the interpretation of source material and the responsible representation of the original author’s position. Relatively simple adjustments can be made to practice activities to add context and thereby help students recognize the interpretive agency inherent in the act of paraphrasing.

In this session, the presenter will share the story of how the paraphrasing workshop she facilitates with undergraduate students at her Canadian university has evolved over the past two years and argue that recent research supports the new direction the workshop has taken.

Shi, L., Fazel, I., & Kowkabi, N. (2018). Paraphrasing to transform knowledge in advanced graduate student writing. English for Specific Purposes, 51, 31-44. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esp.2018.03.001

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Additional Resource Information

View resources by author(s): Silvia Rossi

Institution(s): Mount Royal University

Event Date: 22/05/2020

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