Power and paragraphs: academic writing and emotion

  • Emily Charlotte Forster De Montfort University


Emotions play an important role in academic writing (Cameron, Nairn and Higgins, 2009), and, as learning developers, we often support students with the emotional aspects of their work. The process of writing is strongly linked to identity. Research into academic literacies has highlighted the fact that this often involves complex negotiations, especially for students from widening participation backgrounds (Lea and Street, 1998). Students’ past experiences of learning strongly shape their identity as learners. For example, the early challenges with literacy faced by people with dyslexia often continue to affect their emotions in adulthood (Pollak, 2005; Alexander-Passe, 2015). The concept of learning identities (Bloomer and Hodkinson, 2000; Christie et al., 2007) helps us to understand students’ emotional responses in the wider context of their lives. This paper uses two case histories of students with dyslexia, who were also the first in their family to go to university, to explore the role of academic writing in shaping a student’s learning identity. It argues that learning developers are in a good position to help students develop a positive sense of themselves as academic writers.

Author Biography

Emily Charlotte Forster, De Montfort University

Emily Forster is a Senior Lecturer in Learning Development at De Montfort University.

How to Cite
Forster, E. C. (2020) “Power and paragraphs: academic writing and emotion”, Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. Plymouth, UK, (19). doi: 10.47408/jldhe.vi19.610.