n South African Journal of Higher Education - Mentored academic writing for higher education in South Africa : the practice of higher education




Writing has been described as the generation of <I>consensual symbols&lt;/I&gt; containing agreed-upon conventions. In Higher Education (HE), these conventions are affected by <I>personal symbols&lt;/I&gt; such as cultural and institutional factors that may impact negatively on postgraduate learners. Although the primary function of a postgraduate promoter is to support candidates' content knowledge, seldom is attention given to discourse knowledge and to novice researchers' writing ability. A programme of mentored academic writing, where junior promoters are trained to support novice researchers, could provide the scaffolding needed to support novice researchers' social and cultural contexts of writing. Such a training programme could coax writers' prior knowledge thereby encouraging intra-personal dialogue resulting in powerful and measurable capacity building. Continuous reflection could lead to novice learners becoming mentors themselves. This article examines possibilities of such mentorship against the backdrop of HE learners who are non-native speakers of English, often in a non-supportive learning environment.


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