Making the Transition: Reflection, Ownership and Agency in Academic Writing

Stocks, Paul and Harvey, Stella. 2017. Making the Transition: Reflection, Ownership and Agency in Academic Writing. Hradec Kralove Journal of Anglophone Studies, 4(1), pp. 64-73. ISSN 2336-3347 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

English academic discourse is commonly characterised as objective and depersonalised. Yet at the centre of each student essay is an embodied subject who brings their own histories, affective responses and agency to their writing. This dimension may easily be overlooked in process-based approaches to teaching essay writing. We considered whether foregrounding the subjective aspects of writing implicit in a standard essay might encourage students to engage more meaningfully with the task and develop a stronger authorial voice. Hence, a reflective journal was designed to enhance essay writing for students studying on an international pre-master’s programme at Goldsmiths, University of London. The reflective journal is intended as a “transitional space” (Winnicott 2005) between the student writer and the essay task, allowing the subjective dimension in the writing process to be made visible, even if this would ultimately be effaced in the final essay. This paper will report on the context, rationale and experience of using this reflective journal, illustrated with a case study showing one student’s progress from the personal to the critical .

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Language Studies Centre


13 July 2017Accepted
1 November 2017Published

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Date Deposited:

12 Jun 2018 08:32

Last Modified:

11 Jun 2021 18:40

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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