July 2019, EATAW conference, Gothenburg, Sweden

Claudia Doroholschi participated in the EATAW 2019 Conference in Gothenburg, Sweden, on 1-4 July 2019, and presented two papers:  “‘Cross-Disciplinary Academic Genre Research: a corpus-based methodological model” (co-authored with Madalina Chitez, Loredana Bercuci and Daniel Luches) and “Writing encounters within the EU’s Erasmus+ student exchange program: challenges, solutions and implications”, co-authored with Cristina Baniceru.

Presentation 1: Cross-Disciplinary Academic Genre Research: a corpus-based methodological model
Authors: Madalina Chitez, Claudia Ioana Doroholschi, Loredana Bercuci and Daniel Luches

Abstract

Recent research has recognized the benefits of using corpus methodologies (e.g. Nesi & Gardner, 2002) in surveying academic writing genres alongside more traditional methods such as interviews and questionnaires in order to capture both their textual and contextual features. In this paper, we draw on findings from a mixed-method research undertaken within the frame of the project ROGER, whose aim is to map Romanian academic genres, and analyse the little researched genre of ‘referat’, prominent in many Eastern European universities (Kruse et al., 2016). In the first stage of the project, a student questionnaire and staff interviews were used to identify the most important academic genres at Romanian universities. The genre of ‘referat’ was one of the top 5 genres in all disciplines but was understood differently across disciplines. Consequently, we used corpus-based methodologies (Biber et al 2007) in order to determine the specific linguistic features of ‘referat’: a 35,000-word corpus (Romanian), with ‘referat’ texts from three distinct disciplines (history, education and geography) was compiled and tagged for rhetorical move structures. By quantifying and analysing lexico-grammatical features, such as metadiscourse markers (Hyland, 2000), for each move, it is demonstrated that the genre functions differently trans-disciplinarily. Next, we delineate rhetorical patterns for ‘referat’ writing in each discipline. We conclude by suggesting a methodological approach to dealing with genre variation across HE disciplines and highlight the pedagogical benefits of this approach.

References:

Biber, D., Connor, U., & Upton, T.A. (2007). Discourse on the Move: Using Corpus Analysis to Describe Discourse Structure. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.
Hyland. K. (2000). Disciplinary discourses: social interactions in academic writing. London: Longman.
Kruse, O., Chitez, M., Rodriguez, B., Castelló, M. (2016). Exploring European Writing Cultures. Winterthur: ZHAW.
Nesi, H., & Gardner, S. (2012). Genres across the disciplines: Student writing in higher education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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Presentation 2: Writing encounters within the EU’s Erasmus+ student exchange program: challenges, solutions and implications
Authors: Claudia Ioana Doroholschi and Ana Cristina Băniceru

Abstract

Mobilities within the Erasmus+ program across Europe have set out from the assumption that student exchanges will facilitate intercultural communication and multilingualism, which is seen as “one of the cornerstones of the European project” and a tool to “enhance cultural understanding” (European Commission 2019). However, studying in a different country also creates adaptation issues and tensions. A number of studies have examined the professional, cultural, social and language-related benefits and challenges of the Erasmus mobility program, and some highlight written communication is one of the important areas where difficulties arise (Klimova 2013), but little is known as yet about the ways in which students and higher education institutions negotiate these challenges.

The present paper explores the ways in which European universities have accommodated differences in writing cultures, genres and practices during Erasmus+ mobilities, outlining several of the teaching strategies, institutional policies and forms of support used to this end. We will draw on information on university websites and a qualitative study including 10 semi-structured interviews with incoming and outgoing Erasmus students from our university, as well as open-ended questionnaires sent out to teachers and writing centre staff in several countries across Europe. Our results suggest that many of the solutions to writing-related difficulties have been hands-on, immediate responses to practical teaching situations, rather than coherent institutional, national or European policies. While many of these can be immediately effective and provide many positive examples of how to deal with writing in a multicultural setting, our findings also suggest that there might be issues of equity, power relations and reciprocity involved in such exchanges. When adapting their courses to an international class, instructors should be aware of these challenges that extend beyond the curriculum.

References

European Commission. (2019). Erasmus+ Programme Guide 2019. Available: https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/resources/documents/erasmus-programme-guide-2019_en
Klimova, B.F. (2013). Czech ERASMUS students and their EAP needs. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences 112, 152-157.

Snapshot of first slide

More information about the conference here.

Impressions

This is a biennial conference which brings together researchers and teachers of academic writing across Europe and beyond. This year’s theme was “Academic writing at intersections: Interdisciplinarity, genre hybridization, multilingualism, digitalization, and interculturality​”, which was explored in paper presentations, keynotes or round tables. Sessions that focused on issues regarding the intersections between writing and digitalization were particularly popular.