The Writing Centre is a dynamic skills-based unit, created to provide a walk-in, one-on-one consultancy service for students from all faculties, and all academic levels of the university. Based on these individual consultations, the Writing Centre identifies and analyses the language and learning difficulties in student writing, and provides feedback to departmental staff. The Writing Centre is a project within the Language Development Group (LDG) which focuses on research-driven developmental work, particularly through curriculum involvement. The Writing Centre and the LDG contribute to the Centre for Higher Education Development's goals of:
- research-led development;
- widening access;
- promoting excellence through equity;
- ensuring the provision of key abilities in graduates;
- developing the curriculum in partnership with faculties.
Rationale of the Writing Centre
The Writing Centre emerged in February 1994 as a result of concerns about the quality of student writing at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Often poor writing is a result of poor understanding of the task, the concepts involved, or the form the writing should take. Writing thus plays a central role in constructing understanding, and is a mode of learning integral to student development. Current work in the field of writing pedagogy suggests that significant improvement in student writing happens best as a result of one-to-one consultation, and over a sustained period of time. Although we do not have the resources to offer such a service for all students at UCT, the Writing Centre uses its one-to-one service as a way of understanding the learning difficulties faced by those students it can accommodate.