MIND MAP FOR ACADEMIC WRITING: INTRODUCTION

INTRODUCTION

“Academic writing” is one of those terms that is often invoked, usually solemnly, as if everyone agreed on its meaning, and so is used imprecisely yet almost always for what the user regards as a precise purpose; e.g., commonly by teachers in explaining what they want from students. According to Thesis at al. (2006), writing that fulfill purpose of education is called “Academic Writing”. From teachers’ point of view, this term focuses students’ writings for assignment, report, essays, paragraphs, lab report or any kind of professional writing within university etc. In whole education system around the world, all university level students must write in such a level which must meet some standards with appropriate grammar, spelling and must be relevant of the topic they are asked to write. All undergraduates are required to write at a level which meets academic standards, where essays are coherent with acceptable grammatical structure and accurate spelling. Northedge (1990) said “Writing can present a challenge for some students as it is cognitively demanding, and invokes a deep and powerful kind of learning”.

The challenge is even greater for second language students for it includes additional linguistic and cultural differences. According to Spack(1988), lack of cultural knowledge and target languages might hamper students development and organization success. A good academic writing focuses on generating idea, organizing and presenting in acceptable ways and re write it after getting feedback from readers or teachers. The keywords here are “in an acceptable way” and this means, ultimately, acceptable to the academic community the student is going to join. This involves helping the students become aware that differences may exist between their previous experience of academic writing and what is now expected. However, the challenge of academic writing also includes such psychosocial considerations as sense of class community, self-efficacy, and writing anxiety, all of which can impact academic writing. Graph, charts, flow charts, diagrams or any kind of mapping tools can facilitate students for organizing the concepts for academic writing. The idea of displaying complex information visually is, of course, quite old. Flow charts, for example, were developed in 1972 (Nassi and Shneiderman 1973) pie charts and other visual formats go back much earlier (Tufte 1983). More recently, visual displays have been used to simplify complex philosophical issues (Horn 1998). Formal ways of ‘‘mapping’’ complex information—as opposed to the earth’s surface, countries, cities and other destinations—began at least 30 years ago, and arguably even earlier. In the current research, academic writing is looked at, in particular, whether students in a developing country university experience increased combination of their own ideas, both in terms of increased number of ideas generated and the resulting synthesis of ideas, before and after the use of a technique called Mind Mapping. The paper claims that the type of information mapping tool to be used is largely a function of the purpose for which it is intended.

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