Becoming a psychologist

Chandlin & Plum (2002). ‘Becoming a psychologist: Student voices on academic writing in psychology’ in: Barron, C., Nigel B. (eds), Knowledge and Discourse. Towards an ecology of language. Longman, London.

Central concern: an exploration of how undergraduate students in a university department of psychology (pedagogy, social work) frame academic writing in response to:

-the writing demands made on them by their departments, tutors and discipline
-the writing demands made in other disciplines
-the role of writing in their university work at large
-the role and demands of literacy and literacies in their university and subsequent work careers.

Explanatory account: to make connections between the ways that psychology students frame their writing tasks and undertake them against competing understandings of the goals and requirements of their discipline, where this background and these understandings are invested with often-contested ideological positions concerning the purposes and goals of literacy.

Community of practice

Membership of this academic literacy community always involves highly diverse and heterogeneous participants who advance a range perceptions, beliefs and positions in respect of all features of that community.

Framing the discipline: this framing may be achieved through the licensed practices of the academy – reading, attending lectures and tutorials, writing particular genres – but also by a gradual interactional process of everyday socialisation, not necessarily focused on literacy practices.

Doing psychology: all doing of psychology involves literacy practices to the extent that we may say that the practice of psychology is accomplished through the practice of literacy. Attending to student voices provides insights into how students frame their tertiary studies, including themselves as subjects and their discipline, and how, in this personal reflective process, students see themselves being framed by others, most notably by the institution and its teaching staff.

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