Writing helps build up and access knowledge, thus playing a key role for an active involvement in the social, cultural and intellectual activities of the society to which the individual belongs (Bazerman & Russel 2003; Starke-Meyerring, Paré, Artemeva, Horne & Yousoubova 2011.) Therefore, the acquisition of these abilities is necessary for the development of study skills as well as for a successful academic career (Bereiter 1980, Bereiter & Scardamalia 1987, Louvet & Prêteur, 2003, Boscolo et alii, 2007, Maher 2011.) This apodictic statement is duly supported by research results. In particular, in the last twenty years, researchers from different disciplinary areas have provided data and elements stressing the existence of a strong connection among the acquisition of writing skills, successful academic paths and employment (Blaser, 2008; Baudet&Rey 2012; Chartrand 2006; Ganobscik-Williams, (ed.) 2006; Hyland, 2007; Ivanič, Edwards, Barton, Martin-Jones, Fowler, Hughes, Mannion, Miller, Satchwell and Smith,2009; Lea&Jones 2011; Lillis 2006; Lillis&Scott, 2007; Pollet, 2001, 2004; Reuter, 2004.) Within the Italian context, the way in which university students speak, write, read and listen to the lectures has been debated for a long time (Lavinio and Sobrero, 1991) and, at the same time, this issue is particularly complex for two main reasons: first, because it directly involves the relationship between school and university and the quality of the educational paths; second, because language skills belong to and partially coincide with study skills. In the last twenty years, empirical research, albeit limited, helped collect data on the writing skills of university students in specific contexts (Benvenuto 2011; Cacchione, 2011; Cisotto & Novello, 2012; Fiorentino, 2015; Lucisano, Brusco, Piemontese & Sposetti, 2014; Sabatini, 2010; Salerni & Sposetti, 2010 e 2013; Serianni, 2010; Sposetti, 2008, 2017, 2018a, 2018b, 2018c; Stefinlongo, 2002). This research highlighted some elements which characterise the texts written by students entering and leaving the university (Sposetti 2017 and 2018c.) The results point out the existence of some cases when the skills are not advanced as well as some problems due not only to grammar, syntax and lexicon, but also coherence and textual cohesion, text planning, the conceptual-logical organisation of the information within the text, the ability to use a formal register, inaccurate terminology and the difficulty of using the specific technical lexicon of the reference discipline and the reported speech, which play a key role in the scientific writings that the students must face in the academic context. Certainly, as suggested by Cortelazzo (2017), there is a lack of general data on the linguistic skills of university students, and this poses a severe problem, thus bringing along the risk of generalising the analyses conducted in more or less limited contexts. Considering these assumptions, about ten years ago I started a research project on the language skills, in particular of the writing skills, owned by university students (Sposetti 2008); in the last five years, I focused on the writing skills of experienced students, i.e. of those students who had earned a 1st-level degree (Sposetti 2017, 2018a, 2018b, 2018c.) As a got an insight into the aspects of the research and, in particular, into the role that universities should and could play to foster education and training courses in this area, I pointed out the lack of general data on the world of universities. Therefore, in the 2016/2017 academic year, within a research included in my 2nd-level degree course and conducted at the Department of Pedagogy and Science of Education (PSEF, LM 85) at the Sapienza University in Rome, I performed a preliminary survey of the educational programs of the writing workshops for the three-year degree courses in all the publicly-funded Italian universities; throughout the 2017/2018 academic year, the monitoring continued and the professors who hold these courses were contacted. As evidenced by the available data, in the paths analysed in the reference two-year period as well as in the didactic organisation of the workshops, grammar represents an element of linguistic competence which has never been considered on its own. This assumption is also supported by the 25 professors of as many writing workshops in the 2017/18 academic year, who replied to an interview in the form of a questionnaire, after having been contacted via e-mail. The organisation of these writing workshops reflect the commitment of the universities to the improvement of the students' writing skills from a pragmatic point of view – however, without neglecting the normative sphere - although, based on the collected data, the workshops are not generally limited to the orthographic, morphological or syntactic level. A further element attesting to the assumption of responsibility by the universities lies in the choice of the professors charged with the writing projects, who in less than one case out of three (7/25) are lecturers or type-A researchers (1.) In my opinion, the interpretation of these data suggests the overcoming of two positions: a) a clear distinction of roles and tasks within the school and the university (the school should provide students with adequate "tools", while universities should spread "science"); b) the consideration of writing skills as a “supernatural gift”: the ability to write is not common and does not result from learning (and teaching), since it is innate. Obviously, according to the available data, the educational programs seem to be relatively limited both in terms of quantity and distribution in the different departments, moreover the organisation of modules and the performance of the activities in a specific moment of the training course may need a progressive didactic approach. There are still major differences within the national territory and among the universities: one single university, for example, offers 7 courses. However, it is worth stressing the total number of writing workshops increases over the years, with a minimum increase also in the number of the universities involved. To get more extensive data, it would be necessary to constantly monitor and involve a greater number of professors who hold the writing workshops. In any case, the information collected helps understand that things are different from the so-called "Lettera dei Seicento", since the Italian universities have not activated real "recovery courses" to remedy the fundamental "mistakes" made by the students. Furthermore, as regards the practices able to promote the development of writing skills within the Italian university context, didactic actions focusing on the pragmatic and textual aspects are suggested.
Obiettivo del contributo è offrire una riflessione sul tema dell'insegnamento della scrittura nei livelli di istruzione superiore in Italia, con particolare riferimento all'università. La riflessione sulle competenze linguistiche nei contesti formativi universitari è tema di sempre maggior rilevo nel dibattito culturale e scientifico europeo ed extraeuropeo. In Italia alcune ricerche empiriche hanno permesso di raccogliere dati sulle competenze di scrittura degli studenti universitari in contesti specifici; mancano tuttavia dati di natura generale sulle azioni didattiche attivate a livello nazionale dagli atenei. Utilizzando dati raccolti in una ricerca sperimentale, che prevedeva anche la ricognizione dell'offerta formativa di laboratori di scrittura nei corsi di laurea triennale in tutti gli atenei statali italiani nel biennio 2016/2018, il contributo mette a fuoco le reali pratiche didattiche utilizzate per favorire lo sviluppo di competenze di lettura e scrittura all'università.
La didattica della scrittura nelle università italiane. Il caso dei laboratori di scrittura / SPOSETTI, PATRIZIA. - (2019), pp. 19-28.
|Titolo:||La didattica della scrittura nelle università italiane. Il caso dei laboratori di scrittura|
SPOSETTI, PATRIZIA (Corresponding author)
|Data di pubblicazione:||2019|
|Citazione:||La didattica della scrittura nelle università italiane. Il caso dei laboratori di scrittura / SPOSETTI, PATRIZIA. - (2019), pp. 19-28.|
|Appartiene alla tipologia:||02a Capitolo o Articolo|