Writing experiences of B.Ed honours students registered for the Language in Learning and Teaching (LILT) module : a case study.
This dissertation examines the writing! literacy practices of a small group of first year Bachelor of Education Honours students, who registered for the Language in Learning and Teaching module, as first year students, in 1998. The primary sources of data were (a) questionnaires (focusing on existing literacy practices with which students engage outside of the university context), (b) Literate Life Histories, and (c) individual interviews. The purpose of the research was to consider the 'fit' between students' literacy practices outside of the university and those demanded within the university. Explicitly linked to this was a consideration of the extent to which assessment processes could or should be modified to accommodate this 'fit'. Drawing on the work of Pierre Bourdieu (1965,1972,1991,1992), and his notions of habitus, field and capital, Critical Linguistics and Critical Pedagogy, the study explores the concept of 'difference', notions of literacy and institutionalised power. It also offers suggestions for a pedagogical framework that might effectively foreground a critical position in relation to these issues. Findings from this study indicate that very few literacy practices with which student engage 'fit' directly with those demanded of them by the university. Despite this, students 'take on' the academic literacy demands of the university relatively uncritically and do not attach undue emphasis to this aspect of their performance. What is of particular significance to them are the experiences of empowerment they enjoy during their studies, and the' capital' they take with them in the form of a recognised university qualification. Staff, on the other hand, tend to foreground the need to master academic discourse in order to 'succeed', and rate general student performance as low and inadequate against this criterion. These discrepancies and contradictions between what students perceive their sojourn in the B.Ed Hons programme to be about, and their notions of what constitutes 'success' vis a vis that of staff, make for thought provoking and important considerations, particularly with regard to future research possibilities.