TALKING AND LEARNING: A CROSS FACULTY EXPLORATORY STUDY THROUGH CURRICULUM DOCUMENTS, LECTURERS INTERVIEWS AND CLASS OBSERVATIONS
RMIT University (AUSTRALIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Conference name: 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 17-19 November, 2014
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:This is a cross faculty exploratory study that reports on the entry level speaking by higher education students in class and the orientations of their tutors to the construct ´´speaking as a graduate capability´´. Speaking is difficult to conceptualise as such and so it is associated here with the skill of communication which, in a research based approach to generic graduate capabilities, Barrie (2004), embeds in global citizenship.
The research looks at three sets of data collected in order to unpack what curriculum documents, lecturers’ viewpoints and what happens in classes unveil with regards to ‘speaking’ as a graduate capability across faculties and schools at an Australian University. Participant observation was used to tally the types of language functions used in classes across various disciplines, to create an overall picture of classroom speaking. The tutors were later interviewed about student speaking requirements and performance in their subjects. Sets of curriculum documents were also scanned for inclusion of speaking requirements at entry level
Analysis of the data sets provided a picture against which speaking in other discipline areas can be discussed and even from a small sample, the data show the connection between speaking and other graduate capabilities such as teamwork, supporting the notion that through their participation in an array of learning activities students ‘co-produce’ their education Kotze and du Plessing 2003)
Findings report that 60% of the total international student enrolment forms about 40% of the Faculty of Law and Management student cohort. If students at the time of the study had chosen a degree combination where both speaking and teamwork were strongly assumed and planned for in the curriculum they may have been under-prepared on arrival for the speaking requirements at course entry level despite having fulfilled mandatory testing requirements..
Keywords: Entry level assessment, speaking tests, graduate capability speaking.