Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Playing the Game: Academic Discourse

We've been talking a lot about primary and secondary discourses this semester—how they are obtained and how they affect one another. And one of the secondary discourses many college students like myself are required to adopt is Academia. This discourse comes primarily to very few people; for the rest of us, becoming fluent in the academic discourse can prove difficult. For those of us who struggle to play the academic discourse game, I've come up with a list of things that may help you on your way to fluency. Keep in mind that I am by no means an expert. These are just some things I've noticed during my two and a half years of higher education.

1. If you want to be an academic, you must write clearly. Nothing screams "rookie scholar" more than a poorly constructed sentence. If you have a sizable vocabulary, great. Just make sure you're not sacrificing clarity for words that "make you sound smart."

2. Read. Academics read stuff. That's how they learn. So read.

3. Ask questions. If you don't ask, you'll never know, and academics like to know.

4. Engage the things you learn; talk about them, write about them. Use your knowledge. Test it. There's no better way to reinforce what you know.

I just realized that my list is only four points long. How sad. I guess I have much more to learn about being a fluent academic. But I hope these tips will at least help you to play the game.

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