Academic literacy and student diversity: Towards an inclusive higher education pedagogy | University of Oxford

Academic literacy and student diversity: Towards an inclusive higher education pedagogy

Dr Ursula Wingate
16:00 - 17:30
Oxford Learning Institute
16-17 St Ebbe's Street
Oxford
OX1 1PT

Buzz for suite 3

Lectures and seminars
Free
Yes
Not required

There is a growing recognition that universities have to provide more inclusive methods of helping students to develop the academic literacy needed to become proficient communicators in their disciplines. Although student populations have become increasingly diverse over the last two decades, literacy instruction at UK universities has remained largely the same. It is based on a simplistic distinction between native-speakers and non-native speakers of English and offers academic language classes to the latter category. As these classes cater for students from all disciplines, academic language is usually taught generically, without much consideration of discipline-specific discourses. In this seminar, I will make a case for a discipline-embedded and genre-based approach to literacy instruction, in which writing specialists and subject experts collaborate in the production of teaching resources and the design of literacy workshops. In these workshops, students engage in a systematic analysis of the texts and are encouraged to consider the practices and contextual features that shape academic texts. After introductory classroom sessions, the teaching resources can be used independently by students. I will give examples of the resources we developed for four disciplines (Pharmacy, Management, Applied Linguistics, History), and their application and evaluation. I will argue that this approach offers an effective alternative to the current support provision. The collaboration with subject experts ensures the specificity of the resources to student needs, and facilitates the embedding of literacy instruction into the curriculum. In this way, instruction enables all students in a study programme to understand the literacy requirements of their academic discipline.