8. Scaffolding Argument Writing in History: The Evolution of an Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Language in Action - SFL Theory across Contexts - María Estela Brisk

Silvia Pessoa [+-]
Carnegie Mellon University, Qatar
Silvia Pessoa is Associate Teaching Professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar where she teaches courses in academic reading and writing and sociolinguistics. She earned her Ph.D. in Second Language Acquisition from Carnegie Mellon University. Her research areas include academic writing development, second language writing, sociolinguistics, bilingualism, and immigration studies. Her research has been funded by the Qatar National Research Fund and has appeared in international journals such as the Journal of Second Language Writing, Linguistics and Education, and the Journal of English for Academic Purposes.
Thomas D. Mitchell [+-]
Carnegie Mellon University, Qatar
Thomas D. Mitchell is an Associate Teaching Professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar where he teaches courses in academic reading and writing, style, professional writing, and discourse studies. He earned his Ph.D. in Rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon University. His research has appeared in international journals such as the Journal of Second Language Writing, Linguistics and Education, Journal of English for Academic Purposes, and English for Specific Purposes.
Aaron Jacobson [+-]
Carnegie Mellon University, Qatar
Aaron Jacobson is a Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar where he teaches courses in global history, European history, and Latin American history. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of London. His research interests include refugee studies and forced migrations and his areas of expertise include Modern European history and Modern German history.

Description

This chapter reports on a collaboration between two applied linguists and a novice history professor to scaffold student writing of the argument genre in a first-year history course. The collaboration took place at an English-medium branch campus of a US university in the Middle East where the majority of students have English as an additional language. When the history professor arrived at the university, the applied linguists already had a deeply contextualized understanding of the writing demands of the course using an SFL lens. For several years they had researched the content and assignments and delivered writing workshops. While recent research has explored a variety of factors that enable or constrain successful collaborations, few have focused on university classrooms, and fewer still have explored ones with the contextual knowledge imbalance that initially existed in ours. We explore the evolution of our collaboration, focusing on how the history professor's understanding of the language resources of history arguments developed, and how his flexibility and feedback facilitated the refinement of the workshop materials and the development of a new assessment rubric. We conclude with implications for interdisciplinary collaborations.

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Citation

Pessoa, Silvia; Mitchell, Thomas D. ; Jacobson , Aaron . 8. Scaffolding Argument Writing in History: The Evolution of an Interdisciplinary Collaboration. Language in Action - SFL Theory across Contexts. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Jun 2021. ISBN 9781800500044. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=40633. Date accessed: 29 Oct 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.40633. Jun 2021

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