Integrating academic reading and writing skills development with core content in science and engineering

Kathryn Amos, Ursula McGowan


This paper presents the application of genre pedagogy as an approach to teaching academic reading and writing skills development to a class of undergraduate engineering students. This approach was designed so that it may be applied by core subject teachers in courses with students who typically do not engage well with these aspects of their studies. Our focus was specifically on the ââ¬Ëbigger pictureââ¬â¢ of writing skills development by encouraging students to learn how to analyse for themselves a particular genre from their own discipline, and how to use this knowledge to develop an appropriately academic style in writing their own essay.

Our approach involved combining the expertise of subject teacher and linguist in running four workshops in class time during the first half of a semesterised course. These workshops had associated homework tasks, designed incrementally to contribute to studentsââ¬â¢ understanding and application of the skills they need for academic writing. These were followed by the submission of a written report on the topics covered during the first six weeks of the semester, and was of direct relevance to their degree major. Assessment criteria focused on both technical content and academic literacy. With this integrated approach to literacy and content development it was intended to engage traditionally resistant students with the development of their academic language skills, and also to model a possible approach for the engagement of STEM academics in fostering this academic literacy development. Student participants in this programme agreed that this strategy improved both their writing skills and their understanding of course content.


STEM; integrated academic language development; genre-analysis; reading; academic writing; engineering; science

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ISSN: 1759-667X