The Talking Cure

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Narrative, particularly of an oral nature, is not generally a genre given much consideration in the teaching of academic writing in the tertiary sector. Yet, in everyday discourse, oral narrative predominates. This article begins by describing the difficulties of some British university students engaged in writing academic assignments which were grounded in reflective practice. The use of oral narratives was found to be a useful bridge into academic writing for these students. Thus, I consider some features of narrative discourse, and the ways in which these can be exploited to develop academic writing skills which incorporate argument. Some examples of practical classroom techniques and materials used with students from different disciplinary backgrounds, including education and product design, are suggested.


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