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- Volume 47, Issue 2, 2013
Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig - Volume 47, Issue 2, 2013
Volume 47, Issue 2, 2013
Author Susan Coetzee-Van RooySource: Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig 47 (2013)More Less
The focus of this volume (47/2 of 2013) is a review of academic literacy interventions as they currently unfold at universities in South Africa. No claim is made that the volume represents a comprehensive overview of all the relevant issues related to this complex topic. However, the spread of the research, experience and the variety of the sites of delivery and associations represented by the experts that publish in this volume make it an important source for readers interested in this crucial topic currently. The three most prominent macro-discourses that emerge from the volume relate to the state of academic literacy as a scientific discipline, the state of academic literacy as a profession and the notion of collaboration between academic literacy specialists and discipline experts.
Author Albert WeidemanSource: Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig 47, pp 11 –23 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/jlt.v47i2.1More Less
We now much more readily accept a skills-neutral rather than a skills-based definition of academic literacy, changing our conceptualisations of what academic literacy is. Yet two issues have evaded scrutiny: first, there is the uncritical acceptance that academic writing is what should be taught, and institutionalised.
Second, there is a tendency to accept discipline specific academic literacy courses as necessarily superior to generic ones. There is a third, foundational level omission in our work.
That is that there is little reciprocity in what we learn from applied linguistic artefacts in the realms of language testing, language course design, and language policy making. Why do we not check whether the design of a course should be done as responsibly as that of a test? What can test designers learn from course developers about specificity?
There are many useful questions that are right before us, but that we never seem to ask.
What are we thinking of? A critical overview of approaches to developing academic literacy in South African higher educationAuthor Chrissie BougheySource: Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig 47, pp 25 –41 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/jlt.v47i2.2More Less
In South African higher education, the development of academic literacy is often seen to be the responsibility of those working in the field that is known as 'academic development'.
This paper uses an analysis of submissions to the 2012 annual conference of the Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa, the forum most used by those working in the field to present their work, (i) to examine critically the way the construct of academic literacy is understood by practitioners in the field and (ii) to consider the approaches to the development of literacy to which these understandings lead.
Towards a responsible agenda for academic literacy development : considerations that will benefit students and societySource: Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig 47, pp 43 –69 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/jlt.v47i2.3More Less
The transition from secondary to higher education (HE) requires a change of cultural mindset (cf. Darlaston-Jones et al., 2003; Leki, 2006). It is widely accepted that the academic performance and motivation of first year students to stay in HE depend, among others, on how well they integrate into the university environment (Brinkworth et al., 2009). Academic integration or acculturation takes different forms.
The premise of this article is that students have to learn to engage with academic discourse, i.e., they must acquire the community's communicative currency, defined as different kinds of language used to reflect the community's current norms, practices, values and expectations (cf., among others, Duff, 2010; Gee, 1998, 2000; Hyland, 2009). As reflective and responsible practitioners we therefore need to outline a critical agenda for academic acculturation by reviewing the debate on the nature of literacy and, particularly, by discussing similarities and differences in epistemology and approaches to literacy. Such an agenda will have to recognise insights gained from, in particular, the New Literacy Studies (Street, 1998, 2004) and the Academic Literacies movement (Lea & Street, 1998; Lillis & Scott, 2007), but it will also become enriched by a linguistic perspective (Biber, 2006; Blanton, 1994; Bachman & Palmer, 1996; Halliday, 1978, 1985, 1993, 1996, 2002; Hyland, 2009). In developing a template for the agenda we accordingly acknowledge the theoretical defensibility and the feasibility of different approaches to academic acculturation.
Discipline-specific versus generic academic literacy intervention for university education : an issue of impact?Author Gustav ButlerSource: Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig 47, pp 71 –87 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/jlt.v47i2.4More Less
In a context where progressively more underprepared students gain access to higher education, South African universities are obligated to offer appropriate support to such students that may reduce their risk in being successful with their studies. Part of this underpreparedness is the large proportion of students who enter universities with inadequate levels of academic literacy (AL).
As a point of departure, this article investigates the ways in which AL is defined in the literature, and then continues to explore the nature of AL interventions at South African universities with specific reference to generic and discipline-specific proposals for such interventions. It further discusses the apparent trend for interventions to increasingly situate AL practices in the context of the discourses of specific academic disciplines. Subsequently, the proposed benefits of these approaches are considered, which are then followed by a discussion of the kinds of evidence that are reported with regard to the impact of interventions (both generic and discipline-specific) on the academic literacy practices of students.
Source: Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig 47, pp 89 –107 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/jlt.v47i2.5More Less
Communication lecturers often find themselves in the position of having to do considerably more than teach communication practice in professional programmes, for example, they are commonly expected to provide a 'service' function to lecturers in other disciplines.
When communication lecturers are 'embedded' in science, engineering and technology-based departments, the 'service' provision role of communication lecturers can be exaggerated because of their marginal position in such departments. In this paper we argue that the lens of interdisciplinarity is a useful one for reconceptualising the role of communication lecturers in professional programmes in science, engineering and technology-based departments.
We draw on a number of case studies to show how reconceptualising the work of communication lecturers can enhance collaboration between communication and content lectures in science, engineering and technology and, ultimately, contribute more meaningfully to the language development of students enrolled in professional programmes.
Author Adelia CarstensSource: Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig 47, pp 109 –125 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/jlt.v47i2.6More Less
This contribution enters into dialogue with studies conducted both at school and university level on the effectiveness of interaction between subject teachers and language teachers to improve learners' subject-specific discourse literacies.
An overview is given of the key findings of a report by the National Center for Literacy Education (2013) in the USA, and main findings are linked to two recent South African studies on collaborative approaches to academic literacy support in higher education.
This is followed by a comparison of the school and university settings under scrutiny, with specific emphasis on the shared success factors. An analysis of two curricula for academic literacy offerings at a university that is in the process of introducing subject-specific academic literacy interventions indicates that the effectiveness of the interventions is not necessarily dependent on team teaching approaches, but on institutionally supported, regular, integrative, mutually consultative planning with all stakeholders involved in an atmosphere informed by study and ongoing review.
Author Cecilia JacobsSource: Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig 47, pp 127 –139 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/jlt.v47i2.7More Less
This conceptual paper attempts to map the terrains of academic literacies work as it has evolved over the past twenty or so years in South Africa. In mapping these terrains, one of the areas the paper considers is how the dominant 'skills' Discourse continues to frame the way in which academic literacies work is implemented in South Africa. Drawing on the New Literacies Studies the paper also explores how academic literacies as a body of work defines itself, as well as the range of conceptualisations that inform such definitions. The paper then turns to a consideration of how different contextual agendas drive academic literacies work in different ways across the higher education sector in South Africa. The paper then goes on to explore the different frameworks that academic literacies work in South Africa draws on to theorise this field, as well as some of the premises underlying our thinking and informing our practices, such as: generic and disciplinary-specific approaches to academic literacies development; the role of collaborative partnerships between academic literacies and disciplinary specialists; and how to shift from tacit knowledge of the norms and conventions of disciplines to explicit teaching of these norms and conventions.
Drawing on academic literacies research emanating from the United Kingdom, the paper then argues for a shift from normative to transformative approaches to the development of academic literacies in South African higher education. Finally the paper turns to the question of knowledge and its place in debates about how to develop academic literacies. My conclusions point to the need for a shared ontology within which to frame academic literacies work and research in South Africa. I am suggesting that by placing knowledge at the centre of how we understand our work, we might move closer to such a shared ontology.
Author Elsa MeihuizenSource: Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig 47, pp 141 –157 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/jlt.v47i2.8More Less
This article is concerned with recognizing courses in literacy as making an essential contribution to the central task of the university, and therefore as constituting a proper academic discipline. It is argued that we live in a time of fundamental social changes affecting the nature and function of the university as institution in marginalising the intellectual and foregrounding economic concerns. Courses in literacy were introduced at our universities in reaction to a perceived crisis in the adequacy of literacy competencies amongst matriculants, and with the rather narrow and instrumental aim of improving throughput rates and preventing financial losses for universities and, in a broader sense, society. Central to the process of cementing full academic status for literacy courses is the reformulation of their core function in terms of a capacity to contribute towards securing the university as a space for critical, creative reflection on society and its communicative practices. Such a contribution becomes possible when "literacy" is reconceptualised as "literacies" grounded in social practices.
Author Rose-Marie McCabeSource: Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig 47, pp 159 –192 (2013) http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/jlt.v47i2.9More Less
The aim of this paper is to establish whether code-switching is still common practice in rural Limpopo as it was 16 years ago (McCabe, 1996) and if so, to suggest ways to use it as a resource to aid comprehension of English and to explicitly teach cognitive skills and academic literacy. Many rural South African schools have chosen English as a medium of instruction (MoI) from grade 4; and consequently, English second language learners need to simultaneously master English language skills, content and academic literacy.
Particularly in rural schools, English MoI has led to code-switching between the mother tongue (L1) and English. Through an English Language Teaching (ELT) lens, code-switching (CS) is generally viewed as a reflection of a language deficiency of the speaker, language interference and an obstacle to learning. This view, however, ignores code-switching's functionality and its potential to assist the achievement of academic literacy. CS, clearly an inevitable component of our rural classrooms, could be used as a resource at school from the intermediate phase, through secondary school and to a limited extent at university. CS can be 'scaffolded' at school and gradually 'faded' as learners advance through secondary school and enter tertiary institutions.