Reflections on a peer-led Writing Café
Keywords:peer-led learning, student mentors, academic writing, sense of belonging
Academic writing can often be a solitary, even isolating, experience for students. For those new to UK higher education institutions, as well as those seeking to develop their academic skills, academic writing can be a daunting task. Supporting students with academic writing is a significant element of the work of the Learning Development team at the University of Leeds. Established methods of support, including co-curricular and embedded workshops, online resources, and one-to-one appointments, are effective, but they do little to promote a sense of community or belonging. Instead, the power dynamic between student and learning advisor remains very similar to the one students experience with academic staff. Peer support has proved to be a powerful tool in learning development, especially in academic writing (Longfellow et al., 2008; Pritchard, 2015; Tamachi et al., 2018). Building on the successes of PASS/PAL schemes and peer-led support at other institutions, the LD team at Leeds opened a Writing Café in October 2022 to support undergraduate students in the development of their academic writing. Led by five student ‘academic writing mentors’, the Writing Café offers an opportunity for undergraduates to have a less isolating experience of writing while building their communities and networks within the institution.
Longfellow, E., May S., Burke L. and Marks-Maran, D. (2008) ‘They had a way of helping that actually helped’: a case study of a peer-assisted learning scheme, Teaching in Higher Education, 13(1), pp.93-105. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/13562510701794118 (Accessed: 3 October 2023).
Pritchard, C. (2015) ‘Mentoring in the writing café: identity, belonging and ownership’, Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, Special Edition: Academic Peer Learning, pp.1-20. Available at: https://doi.org/10.47408/jldhe.v0i0.305 (Accessed: 3 October 2023).
Tamachi, S., Giles, J.A., Dornan, T. and Hill, E.J.R. (2018) ‘“You understand that whole big situation they’re in”: interpretative phenomenological analysis of peer-assisted learning’, BMC Medical Education, 18(1). Available at: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-018-1291-2 (Accessed: 3 October 2023).
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2023 Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).