An evaluation of oral feedback as a means of scaffolding for postgraduate student writing.
Universities in South Africa as yet do not provide multilingual education. For many students this means they have to use their second or additional language for the Discourse of the academic world. This dissertation investigates one Honours / Masters module offered by a lecturer in the theology department. It describes, in the form of a case study, how the lecturer uses the oracy skills (listening and speaking) to scaffold the students into the appropriate use of Academic Discourse. This lecturer uses the practicality of fieldwork, the intensity of emotional work and the flexibility of the spoken discourse to guide students into the reflexivity and criticality of the Academic Discourse. The data is discussed in terms of discourse analysis, genre theory and academic literacy, together with current understanding of feedback during process writing. My focus is on oral feedback. The results of this study indicate that the lecturer, and the students who took his module, felt satisfied that a greater depth of theological and linguistic criticality and reflexivity had been reached. The focus of this dissertation was on the students' uptake of the oral feedback given by the lecturer. It was the process that was explored rather than the final written product. Further research could investigate how much the students' writing improves as a result of intervention such as this. The lecturer's pedagogy maximised the language skills used in the Preacher (hortatory) Discourse that have something in common with the skills required in Academic (expository) Discourse. This dissertation concludes that these skills should be maintained while also developing the other skills required for Academic Discourse. These skills include the ability to be detached and uninvolved. However, if this detachment is to be achieved, the student needs first to be fully involved in the process so that transformation and appropriation can take place. This comes about through critical reflection - the hallmark of Academic Discourse.