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Developing Academic Literacy

Edited By George M. Blue

Academic literacy has always been a key underlying theme in English for academic purposes and practitioners and researchers in the field have always had one eye on its development in students. In recent years it has moved into the foreground and become a central field of study in its own right and the focus of a considerable amount of programme development and research. This was reflected in the fact that a conference focusing on Developing Academic Literacy was held by BALEAP (British Association of Lecturers in English for Academic Purposes) in Southampton in the spring of 2003. This volume consists of papers selected from the themes of that conference. The papers reflect areas of interest in issues in academic literacy, criticality and evaluative language, academic literacy in the disciplines and the use of technology in developing academic literacy.


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George Blue - Developing Academic Literacy: Introduction 1


George Blue Developing Academic Literacy: Introduction Introduction Literacy has always been an important theme in education, but in recent years it has been the focus of a great deal of attention. Traditionally, lit- eracy has been seen as uniting the skills of reading and writing (two of the three Rs). In mother tongue teaching in schools it is also seen as involving speaking and listening, which feed into and complement skills in handling the written word, especially in the early years. One of the important goals of primary education is to help pupils to read and write with confidence, fluency and understanding. This obviously goes beyond the word level and involves dealing with a variety of different text types with different patterns of organisation and different purposes. Where appropriate, literacy teaching may be linked to work in other cur- riculum areas, e.g. retrieving information from texts used in science, study- ing stories linked to a topic in history. Thus, in some ways literacy goes beyond developing skills in reading and writing, although there is always a focus on these skills. When we come to consider academic literacy, we might expect to find a similar major (but not exclusive) focus on reading and writing. Reading of course normally takes place silently, and we would not expect to find the focus on reading aloud that is common in the early years curriculum. Writing will need to be accurate, coherent, well structured, in the correct register, with appropriate vocabulary, etc. According to Hyland...

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