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From “go to the writing centre” to “we can work on these things ourselves”: University lecturers’ changing views on Academic Literacies in the Social Sciences
Dalarna University, School of Language, Literatures and Learning, English.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0530-206X
Dalarna University, School of Language, Literatures and Learning, Swedish.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7745-8034
2024 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Over the last few decades, Higher Education institutions in Sweden and across the globe have been working on widened participation, sustainable development, and increased accessibility to university studies. The impact of these initiatives can be seen in today’s student populations, which are characterised by diversity and a wider range of academic skills. Other effects, however, include (a) concerns about lowering standards, (b) a discourse of deficit that focuses on the knowledge and skills students lack, and (c) a remedial approach to tackle said deficits. A common (mis)conception is that students lack language skills (e.g., language proficiency, writing skills) and that referring students to writing centres will solve the issue. However, research (e.g., Blåsjö, 2004; Barton, 2007; Shanahan & Shanahan, 2012; Wingate, 2012; Catell, 2013; Solheim et al. 2022) shows that integrating literacy efforts within disciplines is a more effective way to scaffold student learning. 

This presentation reports on preliminary findings from an ongoing empirical study on teaching practices for the development of university student’s academic literacies in the social sciences. In particular, the focus is on the changing views of teaching staff on scaffolding and the role of academic literacies in the students’ learning journey. 

The study rests on Academic Literacies (Lea & Street, 1998; Lillis, 2003; Lea, 2004; Eklund Heinonen et al., 2018) as its theoretical framework. The data consists of: (a) video-recorded ethnographic interviews with two lecturers in an undergraduate programme in the Social Sciences; (b) text analyses of, e.g., assignment instructions, feedback provided by lecturers, and samples of student writing; and (c) workshop-style sessions where the informants were given opportunities to explore hands-on strategies to scaffold the development of their students’ academic literacies.

The results show a change from a discourse of deficit and a remedial approach to integrating academic literacies in the discipline. More specifically, the findings illustrate the lecturers’ changing views in relation to:

1.    The students’ needs: From basic proficiency to disciplinary practices. 

2.    The lecturers’ own abilities: From outsourcing to collaboration.

3.    Teaching practices: Modelling, strategy use, and formative feedback emerge as useful scaffolding tools. 

4.    The role of writing in the development of content knowledge.

This study highlights the benefits of a collaboration between researchers at a writing centre and subject lecturers. The results show that applied linguistics can contribute to scaffolding the students’ learning journey by fostering engagement with disciplinary discourse to build disciplinary knowledge.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2024.
Keywords [en]
Academic Literacies, Integration in the Discipline, Higher Education, Pedagogy, Social Sciences
Keywords [sv]
Akademisk Litteracitet, Integrering i Ämnet, Högre Utbildning, Pedagogik, Samhällsvetenskap
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-48403OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-48403DiVA, id: diva2:1854329
Conference
ASLA 2024:Language and communication in a digitalised world
Part of project
Academic Literacies in Social Sciences (ALiSS)
Note

Publication is in preparation. Details will be added when available.

Available from: 2024-04-25 Created: 2024-04-25 Last updated: 2024-04-26Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text in DiVA

Other links

https://www.du.se/en/research/forskning-om-sprak-litteratur-och-larande/sprakvetenskap/asla-2024/

Authority records

Garcia-Yeste, MiguelNordmark, Marie

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • chicago-author-date
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  • Other style
More styles
Language
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  • en-GB
  • en-US
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  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
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  • asciidoc
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