Students entering art and design courses in UK higher education come from a range of educational and cultural backgrounds. These students frequently report finding academic writing challenging. Expectations as to the nature of description, analysis and criticality can also differ across subject areas. As a result, students need support in developing their ability to communicate appropriately within their disciplines – their academic literacies. This study applies genre analysis to identify ways in which students express critical thinking in undergraduate Visual Effects Design and Production essays. The findings highlight common ways of linking ideas through exemplification, drawing conclusions from grounds, and challenging the validity of assumptions. Ways of expressing the strength of claims and indicating the writer’s attitude are also frequently used in the sample. The findings are then integrated into a practical model for impromptu teaching of writing by subject lecturers. The article confirms understandings of the way students express criticality in essays, and aligns insights from genre analysis and academic literacies in a novel way. The outcome is a proposal for a practical, low-preparation approach to teaching academic writing within the disciplines.Keywords: blended learning, active methodologies, students’ participation, learning community, teaching-learning processes.
Making an Argument in the Arts: Using Genre Analysis to Inform Embedded Academic Writing Support in a UK Arts University