Building knowledge through writing workshops: how to accompany the gradual building of an apprentice-researcher posture

In this university literacies contribution, we investigate the process of acculturation to research writing with Master’s students. We present the analysis of an empirical study made at the University of Orleans (France), in the Linguistics and Didactics Master course. The course consists in a training dedicated to writing process didactics and includes an initiation to dissertation writing. Our aim is to show how in the framework of this course the students acquire (reconstruct) writing skills and associated didactics, and how they start to discover, invent (in the sense of the latin etymon) new knowledge. Specifically, we wish to highlight the relevance of key notions built by our school of writing didactics (learner-writer, scriptural competence, writing-rewriting process, relationship with writing) to conceptualize and accompany epistemological, dialogical and enunciative ruptures inherent to acculturation to research writing at university. In this article, we first set out scientific sources basing our experiment, from its design to the analysis of its effects: 1/ a didactic model of scriptural competence, 2/ a vision of writing as a process based on the contribution of textual genetics, 3/ the studies of the specifics of research writing as well as 4/ the studies on the didactic interest of creative writing workshops. We then describe the teaching and training scheme, organized around two writing workshops (a creative one and a research one) which favors rewriting. Finally, starting from the analysis of a corpus of 41 dissertations collected between 2009 and 2013, we present results illustrating the writers’ repositioning. On one hand, we identify, in the students’ dissertations, clues of an evolution of their relationship with writing; which they verbalize, helping them build the notion of scriptural competence. On the other hand, the analysis of the intermediate and final versions, on the epistemological, dialogical and enunciative levels, shows that prescribed and accompanied rewriting favors the emergence of an apprentice-researcher posture.

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