By Susan Carter
It is not new news that it is tough to write a whole thesis in formal academic prose in English when it isn’t your first language—Sabrina Islam’s post last week showed her strategic approaches to managing this massive challenge. She suggested an inclusive set of attitudes and actions that candidates can adapt.
The supervisor perspective matters in amongst practice too. I know that supervisors worry about supporting international or other EAL candidates’ writing because a few years back I did a research project and got data from 226 accredited supervisors. I was curious as to whether the challenges of sustaining doctoral writing were different across discipline, and sort of expected that they would because the prose styles differ between empirical science and Arts Humanities research writers. I didn’t ask about international or EAL writers, but 66 supervisors mentioned them. A few were negative, most felt that it took more work, and a few felt that international students were the best. Most comments were that the considerable extra time spent on teaching English literacy at the highest level ever demanded of writers, doctoral writing, meant less time for feedback at deeper levels: content, theory, structure, ideas. This post is based on a workshop I host on this topic for supervisors. Continue reading