Globalisation and academic literacy

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In recent decades, national elite universities have evolved into international mass universities, prompted by wider global transformation processes and internationalisation politics (Lillis 2001). Increasing numbers of students attend international study programmes abroad and contribute to a diverse migratory landscape. In terms of international higher edu¬cation, the temporary bringing together of students with different social, cultural and linguistic backgrounds creates new kinds of ‘educational contact zones’ (Pennycook 2007), making a complex interplay possible between local and global scales (Brandt and Clinton 2002).

One aspect of these new educational contact zones that has tangible sig¬nificance, but has received relatively little scholarly attention, is the diver¬sity of literacy experiences and norms that students and teachers often bring to international study programmes. In addition to their different national, cultural and linguistic backgrounds, students often carry a variety of edu¬cational histories into international study programmes, comprising different fields, concepts and representations of academic knowledge – the latter including students’ own oral and written knowledge production. From the perspective of academic literacy studies (Lea and Street 1998), this diversity of students’ educational and discursive experiences may be understood as a significant but often overlooked educational potential in diverse study programmes, enabling students to reflect upon and deepen their conceptual understandings and positions, along with their skills in communication and argumentation.

This paper contributes to the continuing discussion about academic literacy in international higher education. Approaching international study programmes as temporary educational contact zones, marked by a broad diversity in students’ educational and discursive experi¬ences, I examine the negotiation and relocalisation of academic literacy among students of the international master’s programme, Anthropology of Education and Globalisation (AEG), University of Aarhus, Denmark. The paper draws on an understanding of academic literacy as a local practice situated in the social and insti-tutional contexts in which it appears. Based on extensive qualitative interviews with eleven AEG-students, I analyse students´ individual experiences of, and perspectives on, the academic practices of this study programme and explore how the AEG students understand and position themselves in academic text production, and how they co-construct a version of academic literacy through a relocalisation of discourses and beliefs about academic literacy and languages. The findings reveal contradictory understandings of internationalism and indicate a learning potential for students in allowing a more linguistically and discursively diverse dialogue on knowledge production in academia.

Brandt D, and Clinton, K. (2002). ‘Limits of the local: expanding perspectives on literacy as a social practice’,
Journal of Literacy Research 34, no. 2: 337–356.
Clemensen, N. and Holm, L. (2017). Relocalising academic literacy: diversity, writing and collective learning in an international Master´s programme. Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences 10, no. 3: 34-55.
Lea, M. and Street, B. (1998). ‘Student writing in higher education: an academic literacies approach’, Studies in Higher Education 23, no. 2: 157–172.
Lillis, T. (2001). Students Writing: Access, Regulation, Desire, London: Routledge.
Pennycook, A. (2007). Global Englishes and Transcultural Flows, London. Routledge.

Udgivelsesår7 mar. 2019
StatusUdgivet - 7 mar. 2019
BegivenhedEducation in a globalized world - Uppsala, Sverige
Varighed: 6 mar. 20198 mar. 2019


KonferenceEducation in a globalized world

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