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This was where I identified a gap in the existing research. UNIVERSITY AND HIGH SCHOOL ARE JUST VERY DIFFERENT 75 Student Perceptions If instructors are to get a complete picture of the first-year writing experience at university, then it is important to invite students into the discussion, and have them speak about their writing experiences in the different discourse communities. In addition, in order to contextualize the views of writing that students hold once they get to university, it is essential to understand their perceptions of help write an essay online the writing environment they had experienced in high school. The report found that even when students are asked for their perceptions, their suggestions are often not incorporated. The authors surveyed nearly 2,000 high school students in the United UNIVERSITY AND HIGH SCHOOL ARE JUST VERY DIFFERENT 76 States across schools and grade levels to investigate their perceptions of writing instruction and what these perceptions might have for gaining a better understanding of writing instruction. In their own classrooms, the authors observed that students had become increasingly product-oriented and had departed from the process approach they were being taught. The importance of listening to students was corroborated by Soohoo (1993) who voiced his concerns that somehow educators have forgotten the important connection between teachers and students. We listen to outside experts to inform us, and consequently, we overlook the treasure in our very own backyards: our students. As teachers, we need to find ways to continually seek out these silent voices because they can teach us so much about learning and learners, (p. She interviewed forty-six students about their experiences before, during, and after completion of their first major writing assignment. Carroll (2002) found that first-year students struggle in understanding the expectations of their professors. Further, Carroll found that first-year students expected more explicit instruction from their instructors since they often did not understand what was expected of them when completing assignments. Carroll (2002) says that the emphasis on academic writing in first-year means that UNIVERSITY AND HIGH SCHOOL ARE JUST VERY DIFFERENT 78 students are not rewarded for writing narratives or personal opinion pieces as they had been in high schools.
It appears that these students believed themselves to have been adequately prepared for the university writing environment. They believe that first- year students should have been taught to write in high school. UNIVERSITY AND HIGH SCHOOL ARE JUST VERY DIFFERENT 79 Chapter Overview This chapter explored the difficulties that many students encounter when they begin first- year university. In an attempt to understand why some students have trouble making the transition from high school to first-year university, studies were analyzed with respect to: teacher and student expectations and the mis-match that can occur between the two the differing writing environments in the various courses that come with distinct vocabularies and distinct expectations and the inherent challenges of academic writing.
We cannot, however, take for granted that there is only one writing environment at the university. In fact, Beaufort (2007) and Carroll (2002) both discovered that students found it difficult to write in first-year because of the various discourse communities to which they are UNIVERSITY AND HIGH SCHOOL ARE JUST VERY DIFFERENT 80 attempting to become a part of. One of the challenges facing these students was that vocabulary, organization, and purpose is often discourse specific.
It is difficult for the students to understand what they were being asked to do in terms of writing because they did not understand the language and structure that is being used in each course (Carroll, 2002). In addition, because language is so course specific, students fail to see the similarities and generally believe that they have to change their style of writing with every course they are taking (McCarthy, 1987). This research is timely since the transition from high school to university is increasingly being identified as a difficulty for many students. Students often struggle with learning the specific discourses of individual subject areas, and the discipline- specific courses often do not provide any formal university writing instruction. In order to fully comprehend some of the challenges facing first-year cheap essay help online students when they make the transition to university, it is important to listen to them and to take their comments seriously. They are in the best position to speak about their first-year writing environment and, specifically, with cheap essay help online their struggles to master the academic essay. This study attempts to rectify that omission by following the same students from Grade 12 through first-year university to listen to their perceptions of the writing environment in first-year university.