Conceptual and practical issues in the design and teaching of academic writing courses in tertiary education in Cameroon

Published on 2020-09-09 By Prof. Dr Nkemleke A. Daniel

Resume

This present chapter surveys a range of academic writing programmes across four State-own universities in Cameroon, to establish the extent to which (academic) writing courses center on basic requirements of addressing issues of local coherence linked to syntax and word choices etc. It is expected that the survey will provide pointers to lacunas in tertiary writing programmes in Cameroon, so that a blue-print for a more genre-oriented writing curriculum could be proposed.

Publication

Academic writing holds pride of place in tertiary education world-wide not least because English has become the primary language of scientific production. While university writing curricula elsewhere (e.g. in North America, but less so in Europe) have over the past decades shifted from the “product” to a “portfolio” (in the manner of a process) approach; with emphasis on drafts, revisions and feedback; in Cameroon and probably elsewhere in ESL settings, writing programmes in tertiary education have largely remained “basic”—addressing issues of style, coherence, cohesion, word choices, summaries etc., at the expense of a more specialized disciplinary-specific genre-based focus. The changing nature of the organization of academic studies with the introduction of modules and credits points have largely taken off a significant time hitherto devoted to single course., such that teachers no longer have enough time follow students up on their witting tasks. Yet a number of studies have indicated that ‘because of the range of items that portfolios can include, they can provide breadth and depth for [students’] academic development’ (Coffin et al. 2003:88, cf. Lillis 2001). This present chapter surveys a range of academic writing programmes across four State-own universities in Cameroon, to establish the extent to which (academic) writing courses center on basic requirements of addressing issues of local coherence linked to syntax and word choices etc. It is expected that the survey will provide pointers to lacunas in tertiary writing programmes in Cameroon, so that a blue-print for a more genre-oriented writing curriculum could be proposed.

Key-words:

Academic writing, teaching, tertiary education, universities, Cameroon

 

References

Coffin, C., M. Curry, S. Goodman, A. Hewings, T. Lillis, J. Swann (2003). Teaching Academic Writing: A toolkit for higher education. London & New York:  Routledge,

Lillis, T. (2001). Student Writing Access, Regulation, Desires. London: Routledge.


review author 1
Prof. Dr Nkemleke A. Daniel

This is an on-going chapter for a book project on teaching English/academic writing in tertiary education in Africa, that I and colleagues abroad are co-editing. Please feel free to also participate. If you are interested, please send an abstract to me!