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Reading: Front Stage and Back Stage Writing: Using Logs to Rehearse and Develop a Disciplinary Role

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Front Stage and Back Stage Writing: Using Logs to Rehearse and Develop a Disciplinary Role

Author:

Nancy Lea Eik-Nes

Department of Language and Communication Studies, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NO
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Abstract

Developing a scientific writing course for doctoral students in engineering involves striking a balance between meeting practical expectations and providing students with an opportunity to develop their academic identity through their writing. This paper is based on a scientific writing course that incorporates both a genre approach and a process approach. The purpose of the paper is to evaluate a practice from a process approach to writing: log-writing. Students submit weekly logs in which they are to write freely about their doctoral projects; the teacher responds to each log, but does not correct or evaluate the texts. An analysis of the logs using Goffman’s theatrical metaphors of “front stage” and “back stage” (Goffman, 1971) reveals that students use their logs for both front stage and back stage writing. When they are front stage, they write to play their roles as disciplinary characters, impressing their audience through disciplinary conventions. Writing back stage, they show private aspects of themselves as they work out and rehearse the roles they are to play. They worry, question, observe, discuss and reflect upon the practices and expectations of their disciplinary communities. They examine their own resources and use them to make choices as they further develop the role they will play front stage.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.35360/njes.107
How to Cite: Eik-Nes, N.L., 2008. Front Stage and Back Stage Writing: Using Logs to Rehearse and Develop a Disciplinary Role. Nordic Journal of English Studies, 7(3), pp.181–198. DOI: http://doi.org/10.35360/njes.107
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Published on 01 Sep 2008.

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