What is an inclusive approach to the development of academic literacy? By Gale Dawson (Learning Enhancement Team, Library Services)

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The Library’s Learning Enhancement Team is currently discussing what constitutes an inclusive approach to the development of academic literacy. Wingate (2015) describes academic literacy as ‘the ability to communicate competently in an academic discourse community.’ So, how do our students learn what constitutes good academic practice? Is this something we can leave students to learn as they go along, or does embedding the teaching of academic literacy skills into the curriculum contribute towards a more inclusive approach to scaffolding the transition to learning in a higher education context? The Library’s Learning Enhancement team believes it can support a more inclusive approach to student induction by collaborating with academic staff to ensure that all students develop a broad range of academic skills within the context of their discipline. Our aim is therefore not to target particular groups of students (eg international or widening participation cohorts) for generic skills development sessions, but to offer Schools a broad spectrum of academic literacy development opportunities that can be contextualised and embedded into the curriculum. It will enable us to deliver our offer at times and in contexts that are the most relevant in students’ learning journey. Our expanded offer will, for example, include digital literacy and peer learning opportunities. We look forward to working with academic staff and students to further develop our academic literacy offer for students.

Wingate U (2015) Academic Literacy and Student Diversity; The Case for Inclusive Practice, Multi-Lingual Matters

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