Interrogating a collaborative instructional approach to academic literacy: the missing link in supporting students’ language learning




academic literacy, curriculum integration, faculty collaboration, narrative inquiry, language learning


In Covid-19’s ‘new normal’ academics have been urged to tear down subject silos and approach teaching collaboratively with renewed interest and increased urgency. An example of this can be found in curriculum-integrated academic literacy instruction which is based on the collaboration between language and content instructors. Case studies frequently report barriers to engaging content instructors in supporting students’ language learning. However, the internal conflicts of language instructors are under-represented: little is known about their subjective experiences and emotions as they go about negotiating and accommodating a collaborative instructional approach. This paper undertakes a narrative inquiry into three language instructors’ stories of teaching discipline-specific academic literacy. In bringing to the fore their reflexive voices on authority, agency and feelings of student resistance, it explores themes around identity and collaboration and underlines a critical missing link that mediates faculty collaboration and student learning. Humanising faculty development and venturing into scholarly enquiry are then proposed as potential ways to empower language instructors to manage the emotional complexities in their collaborative engagements.

Author Biographies

Kum Khuan Tang, National University of Singapore

Kum Khuan Tang teaches academic writing and argumentation at the Centre for English Language Communication, National University of Singapore. His research interest is in the knowledge base of language teacher education in higher education.

Derek Wong, National University of Singapore

Derek Wong teaches scientific communication at the Centre for English Language Communication at the National University of Singapore. He sees writing as an important tool to mediate critical thinking, and is interested in innovating genre-based pedagogy.

Gek Ling Lee

Gek Ling Lee is a Senior Lecturer at the Centre for English Language Communication, National University of Singapore. She is interested in what makes language learning enjoyable and meaningful to students in academic English, professional communication and critical thinking, writing and speaking.


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How to Cite

Tang, K. K., Wong, D. and Ling Lee, G. (2022) “Interrogating a collaborative instructional approach to academic literacy: the missing link in supporting students’ language learning”, Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, (24). doi: 10.47408/jldhe.vi24.867.