Embedding academic writing instruction into subject teaching: A case study

Wingate, Ursula; Andon, Nick and Cogo, Alessia. 2011. Embedding academic writing instruction into subject teaching: A case study. Active Learning in Higher Education, 12(1), pp. 69-81. ISSN 1469-7874 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The benefits of embedding the teaching of writing into the curriculum have been advocated by educators and researchers. However, there is currently little evidence of embedded writing instruction in the UK’s higher education context. In this article, we present a case study in which we report the design, implementation and evaluation of an academic writing intervention with first-year undergraduate students in an applied linguistics programme. Our objectives were to try a combination of embedded instructional methods and provide an example that can be followed by lecturers across disciplines and institutions. Through the integration of in-class and online writing tasks and assessment feedback in a first-term module, we supported students’ writing development throughout the first term. We evaluated the effects of the intervention through the analysis of notes on classroom interaction, a student questionnaire and interviews, and a text analysis of students’ writing and the feedback comments over time. The evaluation findings provide insights into the feasibility and effectiveness of this approach. The embedded writing instruction was perceived as useful by both students and teachers. The assessment feedback, whilst being the most work-intensive method for the teachers, was valued most by the students and led to substantial improvements in the writing of some. These findings suggest that embedded writing instruction could be usefully applied in other higher education contexts.

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Identification Number (DOI):



academic literacies, academic writing, discipline-specific writing instruction, student support, widening participation

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature


March 2011Published

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Date Deposited:

04 Feb 2015 10:15

Last Modified:

23 Jun 2017 15:31

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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