Managing academic literacy practices in specific disciplinary courses
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Managing academic literacy practices in specific disciplinary courses: Investigations into students’ learning subject specific knowledge. ERGA Conference Presentation, Adelaide University,......

Managing academic literacy practices in specific disciplinary courses: Investigations into students’ learning subject specific knowledge. ERGA Conference Presentation, Adelaide University, September 2012

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  • 1. Managing academic literacy practices in specific disciplinary courses: Investigations into students’ learning subject specific knowledge Dr Peter Mickan Discipline of Linguistics University of Adelaide ERGA presentation Adelaide September, 2012
  • 2. Discipline knowledge & skills What is it to be competent in a course? How do we conceptualise knowledge & skills in a discipline? How do we screen/select students for competence? How do students exhibit competence? What do students need to do to become competent?
  • 3. Preparation for academic study Language competence: a significant factor in tertiary students’ academic success & graduates’ workplace effectiveness Language preparation in PEP/EAP/ESP programs For discipline specific study, what are the actual language demands or expectations?
  • 4. Managing disciplinarydiscoursesRemediation  Error identification  Grammatical focus on discrete items e.g. punctuation, spelling, sentence structure  Sentence level analysis
  • 5. General language competence English for academic purposes - a general language competence underlying academic work [like general engineering?]  But Need language specific to an academic course context - to purpose & task How can we investigate this?
  • 6. Subject specific knowledge Epistemology Epistemology: episteme to know/understand + logos word, speech What is it to be a nurse [insert profession, job] in terms of knowledge & skills? Example of Environmental Impact Assessment [EIA], in Geographical Studies
  • 7. Case studies in specificdisciplines Postgraduate Curatorial and Museum Studies Masters in Environmental Policy and Management  Environmental Impact Assessment [EIA] Postgraduate Nursing
  • 8. Environmental Impact Assessmentcourse Topic Aims Learning Outcomes/Graduate Attributes 1. Develop and understanding of 1. Explain the history, context, the purpose, process and methods and various stages of the methods of EIA EIA process 2. Show the critical role of EIA 2. Comprehend the role of EIA in processes indifferent states of environmental management and for Australia and in other countries achieving the goal of sustainable development 3. highlight the variability of EIA 3. critically assess the usefulness, processes in different states of strengths and limitations of the EIA Australia and in other countries process 4. draw attention to the strengths 4. Discuss the social, ecological, and weaknesses of the EIA political and economic dimensions process of the EIA process 5. further develop critical thinking 5. communicate effectively about skills or ecological literacy in concepts, ideas and issues of the regard to developmental and EIA process environmental issues
  • 9. EIA literacy resources Reading materials for students: representations of Geography and Environmental Studies:  EIA Course Guide: Course Information, Study skills, Course Resources, Details of Assignment Tasks, Assessment Guidelines, Lecture and Seminar details etc.  Readings: journals, text books, articles  Seminar handouts
  • 10. EIA literacy events Geography and Environmental Studies students engage in the following literacy practices:  • Classroom discussion-open class, small group  • Listening to Lectures/Seminars  • Social chatting between the students  • Asking questions (tutor, each other);  Discussing class requirements & assessment/assignment requirements; Different texts for different purposes: oral, written, formal, informal text types
  • 11. EIA text extract for analysis China’s EIA system has made much progress to develop a framework of environmental laws, regulations and procedures during the last three decades, while there are some deficiencies in the statutory framework. China’s government is keeping to improve its institutional capacity for managing the environment. China’s 2003 EIA Law can be regarded as a significant step towards a more effective environmental management system in China (Wang, 2003). However, in China’s 2003 EIA Law there are two design limitations needed to be improved: 1) a limited scope 3) an ambiguous role for environmental authorities in regulating EIA. (Excerpt 2)
  • 12. Theories of language & learning:Socialisation & semiotic Social theory of language learning: Halliday (1978) Language as social semiotic—a resource for making meanings Knowledge: “to “know” something is to have transformed it into meaning, and what we call “understanding” is the process of that transformation” (Halliday in Webster (ed): 2)
  • 13. Becoming a Nurse: the lectureOkawa case study: analysed in detail selected literacy events & practices of a student nurse, one being the lecture: pre-reading (textbooks), fill in the blanks in textbook, Note taking during lecture Viewing power point after lecture (visuals & technical terminology) Video-streaming of lecture after lecture plus note- taking (Okawa 2008)
  • 14. Nursing (cont.) Tutorial & workshopLiteracy practices:•video-streaming of physical assessment,•Multiple choice questions,•participating in the pair-work and group work,•Viewing the mechanism of the body using dummy& visual aids,•Note taking,•Reading & documenting during the Physicalassessment
  • 15. Literacy events in nursing
  • 16. Making meanings with texts +Building discourse skills Language in context With discipline skills Text awareness - analysis of text types Focused instruction related to purpose of texts
  • 17. Texts in a nursing lecture Printed study plan.Printed textbooks:Text types- Explanation- Diagrams.Power Point Presentation.Information on white board :VocabularyDiagramJ1’s lecture notes.Displayed electronic text.Lecture displayed in electronic mode.Lecture notes written by J1.
  • 18. Academic action! Investigate! What is your subject or course on about? The epistemology?  What knowledge/skills?  What literacy practices?  What texts & discourses?  What awareness of literacy expectations?  Reflection! Collaboration! Knowledge-building!
  • 19. Thanks Thanks to PhD and MA Applied Linguistics Students in the Academic Literacies Research Group In particular thanks to Kateryna Katsman & Thomas Wanner for use of EIA data and Toshi Okawa
  • 20. Further reading References  Halliday, M. (1978). Language as social semiotic: the social interpretation of language and meaning. London: Edward Arnold.  Mickan, P. (2012) Language Curriculum Design and Socialisation. Brighton, UK: Multilingual Matters.  Mickan, P. (in presss) Social Semiotics and Academic Literacies: An Epistemological Approach to The Study of Disciplinary Discourses. International Journal of Innovation in ELT and Research, Vol. 2: 2-12
  • 21. Professional choices? Academic dependency? Innovation? Knowledge creation? Exploit technology Create curriculum, build knowledge, collaborate & empower students & ourselves Please join in our research!
  • 22. Inquiry: action research,reflective practitioner Research identity & professional practice Practitioner managed Classroom research Qualitative/naturalistic studies Relevant investigations Collaborative—in community Resource-based—people + information Documentation & reporting
  • 23. Language learning—whyinquiry-based instruction? Multiple, conflicting theories: cognitive, structural, behaviourist, acquisition v. learning, naturalistic, social theory, acquisition v. learning etc Contradictory research methods: quantitative, experimental, ethnographic, naturalistic, case study etc. ????????????????????????????
  • 24. Sttudents’ experiences oflearning languages Universal, normal-shared experiences & knowledge of language
  • 25. Texts in a nursing lecture Printed study plan. Printed textbooks: Text types- Explanation - Diagrams. Power Point Presentation. Information on white board : Vocabulary Diagram J1’s lecture notes. Displayed electronic text. Lecture displayed in electronic mode. Lecture notes written by J1.