'By-products': The added value of academic writing instruction for higher education

Hadara Perpignan, Bella Rubin, Helen Katznelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We previously defined the 'by-products' of academic writing instruction as "affective and social changes perceived by students, along with changes in their writing, reflected in interpersonal and intrapersonal behaviors carried over into other spheres of their lives" [Katznelson, Perpignan, & Rubin, 2001. What develops along with the development of second language writing? Exploring the 'by-products'. Journal of Second Language Writing, 10(3), 141-159]. The aim of the current study is (i) to explore students' perceptions of non-writing outcomes of their academic writing courses-the 'by-products'-in a greater diversity of settings, and (ii) to understand the pedagogical sources and links which may lead to their emergence. The study, conducted in Israel, examines 20 groups of Hebrew and/or Arabic speaking students (N=210) from undergraduate and graduate writing programs taught by 11 different teachers. Analysis of the data collected through student self-reporting questionnaires revealed nine categories of by-products, several of which are relevant to long-range learning goals, such as lifelong learning. Content analysis of five-matched student-teacher interviews allowed us to reflect on the possible links between the emergence of by-products and some teaching practices. Our findings indicate that many by-products perceived by students as unplanned outcomes of writing courses reflect the same values that universities define as central to higher education. These findings suggest that a greater awareness of the by-products, and an understanding of how they may be yielded and enhanced, may assign designers and instructors of academic writing programs a larger educational role than is currently expected of them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-181
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of English for Academic Purposes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2007


  • Academic writing
  • By-products
  • English for academic purposes
  • Lifelong learning
  • Student-perceived learning outcomes


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