I’m running a writing course…

This afternoon I head off to Iceland to run a short writing course. I’ve decided that I’m going to blog about it as it happens. So rather than there being two posts this week, there will in fact be five as from Wednesday to Saturday I’ll report what’s happening.

Twenty people have enrolled and the School of Education (University of Iceland) has a waiting list. However, I know from experience that it’s impossible with any more to do the kind of group work and conversation that really does make a difference. Even twenty is pushing it, and I’ll have to do quite a bit of group work as well as one-to-one.

The course, a kind or extended workshop or writing retreat, is based on my most recent book with Barbara about writing for peer-reviewed journals, but there are of course some pedagogical tweaks that happen when you work face to face. Here’s what I’ve sent my colleagues in Iceland about the course.

This course is designed for doctoral researchers in education. It is best suited to those who have sufficient data from doctoral or project work to write a paper able to be submitted to an international peer reviewed journal. The workshop is structured to support the development of a good draft for presentation at a conference.

The course offers a theoretically grounded practical strategy for producing a journal article. Participants will learn the reasons that articles get rejected, the common writing mistakes made by early career writers, and the expectations that Editors and reviewers have for their journals and therefore of published papers.

The first session focuses on the importance of choosing the right journal and writing for it. It focuses on the journal article as an argument. The outcome of this workshop is the production of a structured abstract. This also acts as a planning tool for the writing to follow.

The second session supports the writing of the introduction and conclusion. It also examines the problems of front and back-loading the article. A 10 minute powerpoint draft is developed in the session and overnight.

The third session focuses on group presentations of powerpoints, and then goes on to drafting and the importance of signposting and of headings. Participants will need to do some writing overnight.

The fourth session continues with drafting and looks at ways to get feedback on writing. We will consider how the paper might be read by reviewers. At the end of the session participants will have a clear understanding of how to complete and revise their article for the conference presentation as the first step to publication.

If you were coming to the course you’d also have prepared a paragraph on what you wanted to write about, and you’d have read some patter posts on writing for journals.

Stay tuned and read how it goes. Maybe you might even like to write along with us.

About pat thomson

Pat Thomson is Professor of Education in the School of Education, The University of Nottingham, UK
This entry was posted in abstracts, journal, writing course and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to I’m running a writing course…

  1. Clare McNally says:

    Oh how I wished I could come to this course. Will be following closely and hope to attend one of your courses one day in the next few years.


  2. Onk says:

    Me too! Do you want to come to France? 😉


  3. I’m waiting for you to visit Israel – any chance? The workshop sounds exactly what I need. As always I will be following closely.


  4. Ehud says:

    Sounds great. Can you something about the problems of front and back-loading the article and how to mitigate them?


  5. ailsahaxell says:

    Excellent, thankyou for sharing.


  6. Great! I will write along with you 🙂


  7. V. often agree with your points, but my own experience of running courses has led to a different take on maximum numbers. Would be interested to hear more about your reasoning there….


    • pat thomson says:

      Less? More? Curious. I have different sizes for different courses and different time dimensions… Can adjust pedagogies up to a point. The more people there are the less personalised.


  8. Like the word ‘adjust’ – my feeling is that pretty well any number works (well, up to 50 anyway), it’s just that different numbers require different pedagogies. I tend to use an approach outlined by Alan Howe, ‘Expanding Horizons’ (NATE to move from pair discussion to small group to whole group.

    Have had equivocal experiences re.personalisation. With smaller groups e.g. approx 18, I tend to encourage questions, comments, dialogue – but sometimes find that leads in the course evaluations to criticism along the lines of ‘we don’t want to hear what other participants think’!

    Have come to think they re no perfect solutions.


  9. Pingback: Tacking, shifting and stitching | sharonmcdonough

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