Embedding Academic Literacy Skills: Towards a Best Practice Model
McWilliams, R; Quentin, A
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Learning advisors provide academic literacy development support in a variety of configurations, ranging from one-on-one consultations through to large-scale lectures. Such lectures can be generic, stand-alone modules or embedded within a discipline-specific course. Pragmatic and institutional considerations suggest that a generic model of delivery often has an effective role to play; however, there are strong pedagogical arguments for adopting an embedded approach wherever possible. The practice of embedding literacy interventions within subject papers is time-consuming and often logistically challenging; therefore, in order to help learning advisors, their managers and academic staff in faculties to consider the issues, options and constraints in a systematic manner, this paper proposes a best-practice model drawing from over two decades of literature and the authors’ practical experience over the same period in New Zealand and overseas. In order to elucidate the model, the paper critiques an embedded academic literacy skills programme facilitated by an interdisciplinary studies unit at Auckland University of Technology (AUT), New Zealand. The programme is embedded in a core paper entitled Knowledge, Enquiry and Communication (KEC) which is a prerequisite for entry into all of the Health Science programmes. As well as describing key features which have contributed to the success of the programme, the authors identify several key factors which need to be taken into account when considering embedded academic literacy initiatives.