Activity Theory and Implications Instruction
The United States is the only nation that requires of most students in higher education a course in what is known as composition. That is, a course in what Kaufer and Young (1993) called "writing with no particular content," or what many contributors to this anthology are calling general writing skills instruction (GWSI). Other nations teach what Kaufer and Young term "writing with specific content" as part of the regular learning of a discipline and allot virtually no curricular space in higher education for formal writing instruction per see
The U.S. system has many benefits. It has the potential for making students more aware of the uses of written discourse in higher education and in society. It can and often does provide a curricular space for welcoming students to higher education and thus, potentially, for broadening rather than restricting access to those social roles colleges and universities prepare and credential students to enter. Since the 1960s, GWSI courses have provided a focus for an unprecedented research effort on writing in a range of social institutions.