About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2827-2837
Publication year: 2013
ISBN: 978-84-616-2661-8
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 4-5 March, 2013
Location: Valencia, Spain

LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION AS A BARRIER TO LEARNING: THE INTEGRATION OF ACADEMIC LITERACIES IN THE ECONOMIC AND MANAGEMENT SCIENCES CURRICULUM

F. Dresselhaus

University of Pretoria (SOUTH AFRICA)
The high dropout rates of students at higher education institutions in South Africa continue to be an important point of discussion, even at ministerial level.South Africa has a rich cultural diversity; fact remains however that there are many students at tertiary institutions in South Africa who are not first language English speakers; hence English as medium of instruction and learning continues to be a barrier to ‘epistemological access’ to the various disciplines taught at South African Universities.

One response to this situation was a ‘proliferation of support courses’, particularly of Academic Literacy courses. Initially Academic Literacy was taught as a standalone, compulsory and university wide module in the curriculum.

The limitations of this approach soon raised debates on whether these courses justified curriculum space: the integration of academic literacies into the curriculum – so called ‘mainstreaming’ – was then posed as an alternative. In response, defendants of stand-alone modules rose in defence and quoted the need for ‘better contextualized, discipline aligned academic literacy ‘modules’.

To bridge and test this divide, an Academic Literacies Strategy 2011-2016 was then devised within the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, with the primary purpose to test both approaches.

To be able to compare both approaches fairly (‘levelling the playing field’), a baseline cum a common point of departure was constructed. The baseline consists of a skills set of academic literacy specifications in four categories: reading, writing, visual literacies and quantitative literacies.

This baseline was constructed through a rigorous peer review process in three progressive phases:

Phase 1 (2011): A Faculty wide workshop was held with UMALUSI (Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education): The purpose of the workshop was to assess the articulation between the University Curriculum and the School Curriculum and to identify gaps.

Phase 2 (2012): Appointment of a Fulbright Scholar with the brief to: refine the Umalusi proceedings and, from the above,an academic literacies skills set (Quality Indicators) specifically for the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences.

Phase 3 (2012): Development of a Academic Literacies Assessment and Prioritization Instrument, where the Quality Indicators developed in Phase 1 and 2 were drawn together in an instrument, where lecturers in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences indicated needs and priorities.

Phase 4 (2012-Mid-term 2013): Use of the skills set and the findings to (a) revise the stand alone Module; (b) integrate the relevant academic literacies into the curriculum.

It was concluded that required academic literacies for Economics, Business Economics and Accounting are inadequate on the following counts: reading and writing skills: both receptive and productive; quantitative skills; the understanding of basic discipline specific calculations; and finally Visual Literacy, These findings led to the development of academic literacy quality indicators, which in turn were drawn together in an instrument to assess priorities. This instrument now serves as a basis for materials development, method and assessment.
@InProceedings{DRESSELHAUS2013LAN,
author = {Dresselhaus, F.},
title = {LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION AS A BARRIER TO LEARNING: THE INTEGRATION OF ACADEMIC LITERACIES IN THE ECONOMIC AND MANAGEMENT SCIENCES CURRICULUM},
series = {7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2013 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-616-2661-8},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {4-5 March, 2013},
year = {2013},
pages = {2827-2837}}
TY - CONF
AU - F. Dresselhaus
TI - LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION AS A BARRIER TO LEARNING: THE INTEGRATION OF ACADEMIC LITERACIES IN THE ECONOMIC AND MANAGEMENT SCIENCES CURRICULUM
SN - 978-84-616-2661-8/2340-1079
PY - 2013
Y1 - 4-5 March, 2013
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2013 Proceedings
SP - 2827
EP - 2837
ER -
F. Dresselhaus (2013) LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION AS A BARRIER TO LEARNING: THE INTEGRATION OF ACADEMIC LITERACIES IN THE ECONOMIC AND MANAGEMENT SCIENCES CURRICULUM, INTED2013 Proceedings, pp. 2827-2837.
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