Boundary crossings: Student responsibility for academic language and learning at tertiary level

This paper focuses on Principle 3 of the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations’ (DEEWR) Good Practice Principles (GPP) for English Language Proficiency for International Students in Australian Universities. Here DEEWR (2009) notes that students have “responsibilities for developing their language fluency during their study at university” and should be advised of this prior to their enrolment. Arguably, Principle 3 is applicable to all students if the notion of “language fluency” is broadened to incorporate English, academic and disciplinary language. It is argued that while ALL professionals may conceive of students having a responsibility for academic language and learning, we know very little about how they conceive of that responsibility, assuming that they have a conception. Further complicating the issue is the personal nature of conceptions of learning, and students’ linguistic, educational and cultural diversity. This complexity can potentially constrain our pedagogy such that we become very didactic in our teaching. However, equally it has the potential to free us up to explore and negotiate the boundaries to a shared conception of responsibility for academic language and learning with students. In this article I explore what we could say to new students about their responsibility for academic language and learning in line with DEEWR’s Good Practice Principle 3, and argue that students need to cross the boundaries of their understandings to work with the network of ALL assistance we offer, as do we as ALL professionals.

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Bartlett, Annie
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Title of Journal, Edited book or Conference and Page numbers: 
Journal of Academic Language and Learning, Vol. 3, No. 2, Special Issue: Proceedings of the 9th Biennial Conference of the Association for Academic Language and Learning; pp. A51-A60
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