Language specialists’ views on the academic language and learning abilities of English as an additional language postgraduate coursework students: towards an adjunct tutorial model
As in other Anglophone nations, a large percentage of Australia’s postgraduate international students come from English as an additional language (EAL) backgrounds, and many require development of their academic language and learning (ALL) capabilities to successfully navigate a higher degree. This paper investigates those capabilities through the eyes of experienced ALL practitioners (n = 42), whose views on the issue were sourced via an online survey. The paper further explains how the findings were used to implement a trial of an ALL enhancement strategy at one university in the form of adjunct tutorials within selected coursework masters programmes. Both the research and the pedagogical model depart from monolithic conceptualizations of international students by identifying the issues of vertical transition peculiar to EAL postgraduate coursework students, a task that is addressed through the tripartite perspective of the personal, the linguistic and the academic. Findings suggest that, while EAL postgraduates have previous study experience, motivation and maturity, they benefit from opportunities to address disjunctures between the knowledge base they bring to higher study and the expectations of that knowledge base held by universities. Successful transition is also facilitated by explicit (re)orientation to the academic norms of the host institution and nation. Academic writing was noted as a particular area requiring attention, along with the related matters of research skills, information literacy, academic integrity, independent learning, and time management.
Higher Education Research and Development
English as a Second Language