Where Teaching and Learning Matter
What are academic literacies
Whilst I hold with the process approach I also would like to see more of an appreciation of the significance of self within the academic process.
An academic voice is portrayed significantly through textual means; but it may also be portrayed symbolically, through performance, through image, through oral forums. Increasingly in the era of digital technologies and social networking, it is a voice in dialogue with others and not a one-way monologue. The essay that is written by a student and marked by a teacher in a singular directional flow typifies the monologue. I wonder whether we pay enough attention to how the dialogic experience impacts on the self that is portrayed to others? I find this interesting, as the process approach seems to pay limited attention to the significance of the social in the making of meaning, knowledge and even meaningful knowledge.
This for me is where the critical literacy perspectives of Freire and Mezirow are so significant as they acknowledge the more holistic qualities of academic literacies. Critical literacy brings to the fore the issue of subjective positioning and engagement within the academic discourse. Literacies and being literate are related to participation and involvement within discourses; discourses in this sense relating to Foucault’s inclusion of ways of being and doing as well as language. Depending on where you are positioned your identity will be impacted on differently.
This we could see in the Teaching and Learning symposium facilitated by Waikato University at Unitec, where so many tutors talked about challenges with application of the assessment tool coming from a teachers sense of self in relation to the discourses of literacy and numeracy. A number of presenters acknowledged the self of the teacher being a self of doubt, of uncertainty and lacking in confidence when faced with academic literacies. Hence I would argue that academic literacies are not solely about the student
experience but about the academic experience in a more global sense. The self within academic literacies is a self-in-transformation and more than a technical skill, which I feel is still the driving force behind information literacy
Mark, you state in your posting that "we start with a question, something that needs explaining or answering" but do we spend time to really consider what this initial question may be, whose question it is and more basically is there an academically appropriate way of questioning?
I wonder how much about asking questions is about confidence; especially as confidence calls for a self-assuredness to be able to step from a point of knowing. How do you begin to question if your foundational knowledge or understanding or even confidence is uncertain, shaky or weak.
May be the first part of the process for information literacy, as an aspect of academic literacies, is about knowing how to ask a question within an academic discourse:
What does questioning look like within academia?
What does questioning look like within an academic discipline?
What does questioning look like in an applied discipline?
This questioning could relate to the assumptions that we bring to bear within the academic discourse. How we may look at a situation a text a problem and how our prior frames of reference or problem-solving schema inform this?
Faculty Academic Literacies Advisor
Faculty of Creative Industries and Business
Thanks for this Nic - I'd appreciate a response to this as well.
The other day Dulcie and I discussed alterations to the Department of Social Practice's Induction week. Based on the conversation we'd had earlier around using your ECE course as a model we presented the following. That the induction week deal with:
You as a learner (identity and voice)
You as a learner in the discipline (questions, knowing and discursive practices)
You doing things as a learner in the discipline (functional and technical academci skills)
You as a learner at Unitec (orientating to place and people)