Just some thoughts from a doctoral student in progress…..
Our blog is called ‘Changing Writing’. I like it. It is catchy and makes people think. We are changing writing. Someone is changing writing. Writing is changing. Are we changing writing? Am I changing my writing? I’ve been thinking about this lately because I am working on a chapter of my dissertation and all I seem to do is write words. Well, I think and then I write words. My thinking process is annoyingly slow. Like reeeeealy slow. I read through articles, try to find connections, put sticky notes of my comments all over articles, I use SmartArt to see if I can find a diagram that matches the relationships I am making in my head. I do all these things to get a sense of what is being said in order to formulate my own argument about it and then write words to describe my thoughts. Why is it so hard to think?
Well, I know I think too much. It’s probably better if I just write something down so I have it on the page to work with and maybe discuss with someone else, but my circumstances don’t allow me to do that a lot now. I do know that thinking is part of the writing process. My research is actually based in using multimodal training methods for tutors to help them through this thinking so that they can write about it. I help people think through their writing all the time. But why, then can’t help myself through my thinking?
So, the research project I am proposing to do next year focuses on writing tutors and having them go through an in-service training program once a week for a certain number of weeks. The program is not a ‘traditional’ one, in the sense that they won’t read articles and discuss. They won’t simulate a consultation. They won’t even talk about best practices. They will really focus on trying to explore their journeys as academic writers by taking part in idea stimulating activities that are multimodal—the activities use music, photographs, and drawings. They will go through these processes to discover and understand their ideas first. Next, they write something. Then, they get to consult and be consulted about their writing. I am hoping that the diverse backgrounds of the consultants in the trainings will lead to rich conversations, which will spur on thinking and writing.
Maybe that’s the key…using many different kinds of thinking…maybe I need to talk more, share more, even if I don’t know what or how to share. I should book a meeting with my supervisor right now… 🙂
half looking at my computer screen and half looking at the pretty view from my window of Table mountain, Cape Town