Chasing Pokemon – in pursuit of the LAS ideal

A ‘remembered’ moment from a lecture given by James Gee (2000) at the University of the Witwatersrand in which he compared the infinite possibilities of creating Pokemons to the infinite options for Language and Academic Skills (LAS) units became the catalyst for an interrogation of my current LAS model. Does it, in fact, promote ‘equity of access and … enhance learning’ (Leibowitz, 2004: 35), or had I merely become a LAS advisor who had embraced the shadow world of academic compromise? This paper describes the three stages of my reflexive and reflective Pokemon chase. In part one I reflect on my initial employment at Monash South Africa (MSA) in 2001 and the ‘ideal’ model I planned to implement. In part two, I explain the current 2005 model. A reflective, comparative table presents the complex circumstances that shaped my practice as I explored the question ‘What insights have I gained from this reflection?’ In the third part, I describe and explore ‘selected’ insights with reference to isolation, sole provider, complex and complicated South African LAS contexts and facilitator versus lecturer versus LAS advisor. I conclude by suggesting that LAS models tend to be the result of our continuous struggle to integrate and incorporate what we hope to create (the ideal) with the constraints of the real.

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Orsmond, Chris
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Critiquing and reflecting: LAS profession and Practice. Non-refereed Proceedings from the National Biennial Conference, ANU, Canberra
Milnes, Stephen
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