Moscow City Teacher Training University (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN18 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 5314-5318
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.1287
Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain
Students’ academic life is a multidimensional phenomenon that is viewed by increasing number of linguists in terms of discourse, for it covers student behaviour code, student-teacher and student-peer interaction, diverse activities aimed at developing and polishing writing, oral and presentation skills. It is the higher education that promotes life-long-learning in students.

In the framework of this research, I have analysed 90 oral presentations which first-year students from linguistic department delivered during research projects competition. They presented preliminary results of term paper projects and performed as conference participants. Their presentation skills, as well as oral and writing skills were analysed by their teachers who adjudicated in the competitions. It is a diachronic approach for I have obtained data from the very first scientific competitions in December (years 2015 through 2017) and, later on, I studied the same students’ oral presentations during term paper defence in May. The corpus containing evaluative lexis from students’ oral presentations and from teachers’ advice and commentaries, as well as students’ feedback to the commentaries consists of 480 evaluative contexts.

The distillation of my research is as follows: during the first competitions, 65% of teachers’ verbal evaluation contained assessment of students’ performing skills: the structure of the report, behaviour during the presentation (e.g., verbal tics, malapropisms), the use of attention getters. 100% of students lacked this or that presentation skill. In all the cases, students received a piece of advice based on the evaluation verbalized. Another dimension of evaluation was related to the academic discourse behaviour – the ways the students thanked their listeners for questions, made references to the other competitors, interacted with the audience, were analysed. The study has shown that 90 % of students infringed upon academic discourse rules. The third dimension deals with the writing skills (introduction to the term paper, the references, linguistic data under analysis). 30% of students displayed academically relevant writing skills. The evaluation they received was related to the way they expressed their thoughts in scientific writing, quoted scholars, followed the text formatting requirements.

These three dimensions from the first competitions contain semantically diverse evaluations: aesthetical, ethical, teleological, emotive. In 75% of cases the evaluations reveal the fact that the students should pay more attention to aesthetics, ethics, purpose of their research and performance. Positive evaluative lexis was used to encourage those students who display more polished academic skills. Feedback received, they had time to analyse the comments and to polish their writing, performance, presentation skills. 97% of students received positive evaluative feedbacks in terms of aesthetics, teleology, ethics, psychology when they presented their term papers during the defence procedure.

The research has revealed that evaluative judgements in the frame of academic discourse can promote life-long learning, revealing the axiology of academic discourse to students and facilitating various interactions across academic discourse.
Evaluation, life-long learning research projects, academic discourse, axiology.