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Title: Using focused free-writing as a pedagogical ‘multi-tool’ to overcome barriers, empower student writers and access the student voice
Authors: Millar, B
Keywords: Free-writing;Student empowerment;Stream-of-consciousness;Peter Elbow
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Paradigms
Source: Paradigms (CPUT Journal for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education), 17:17-26, 2012
Abstract: Free-writing is “stream-of-consciousness” writing that has a long history, but was popularised in the 1970s by Peter Elbow for students in higher education as an effective way of improving writing (Elbow, 1973). In essence, free-writing means writing without stopping to think, self-censor or edit. Li (2007) describes free-writing as “an empowering learning tool”. Somerville and Crème (2005) report from their research that free-writing gives “students a space to articulate and explore their tentative first thoughts in an unthreatening and supportive way in work they could use as a basis for their course essays”. Hinkle and Hinkle (1990) have shown that an advantage of focussed free-writing is enhancing students’ comprehension of course content. This paper reports on a year-long classroom-research project on the use of focussed freewriting as a unique pedagogical ‘multi-tool’ in a first-year Information Literacy course in an Extended Curriculum Programme at a University of Technology. In particular, it looks at using free-writing as a means for a higher education teacher to access the students’ voice, thinking, prior knowledge and strengths. The paper will explore how focussed free-writing is not only an access point to academic writing, but is also a means of learning how to become a reflective learner and critical thinker. During the academic year the class of students kept a private free-writing journal that was only shared with the Information Literacy teacher and only used in the classroom for free-writing on specific topics set by the teacher. This paper will explore some anonymous examples of the student free-writing taken from these journals to illustrate the effectiveness of focussed free-writing as a pedagogical tool. The theoretical framework within which this paper is situated is that of the New Literacies Studies.
ISSN: 1025-2398
Appears in Collections:Eng - Journal articles (not DHET subsidised)

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