Pedagogical applications of academic literacies theory: a reflection and case study
The development of the academic literacies approach has provided learning developers with a range of powerful tools to help all students to progress through higher education. Twenty years ago, Lea and Street’s (1998) report on student writing initiated a debate which encouraged the transformation of writing pedagogy in UK higher education. The goal of the transformation was, and remains, to develop an education system which is expanding, inclusive and accessible.
This paper focuses on the use of the meaning-making resources that students bring to their learning journey and the ones they encounter throughout their study. It outlines the documentation that enacts the rules that govern university practice at task, module, course and institutional level. The paper draws on academic literacies tools to help to clear away misunderstandings about students’ use of language. It then outlines Lea and Street’s (1998) classification of institutional approaches to the pedagogical challenges of improving student writing.
The case study describes an optional credit-bearing Introduction to Academic Language module on a UK degree course. By conducting a series of analytical tasks, the undergraduates who elected to take the module developed their use of aspects of academic writing including genre, argument and intertextuality. Students were assessed by analysing their own assessment scripts from other disciplinary modules. The academic writing module was evaluated in ways that could evidence recommendations for change at multiple levels. The methods of evaluation follow practices regarded as standard in many university quality processes but were used to transform provision along inclusive, academic literacies lines.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).