“You get me to explain myself more better”: Supporting diversity through dialogic learning.

This paper draws on dialogic theory to look at the Language and Academic Skills (LAS) adviser's role as an audience for students' work. The key to successful communication lies in understanding the needs of one's audience, and this is very difficult for many of our students. When writing essays, their success depends upon imagining an audience that does not, in fact, exist: a community of scholars who know slightly less about the topic under discussion than the student who is writing the essay. What LAS advisers do for individual students is to embody this audience that students are, understandably, unable to imagine; and we reveal the needs of this audience, progressively, through dialogue. We work to shape a kind of dialogue that the students must internalise -- must learn to have with themselves -- if they are to learn what the university seeks to teach, and demonstrate their learning in a way the university can 'hear'.

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Kate Chanock
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Research and development in higher education volume 22: Cornerstones of higher education
Richard James
John Milton
Roger Gabb
ISSN 0155-6223; ISBN 0 908557-46-9
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