Journal for Language Teaching

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Academic literacy interventions: What are we not yet doing, or not yet doing right?

A Weideman


We now much more readily accept a skills-neutral rather than a skillsbased
definition of academic literacy, changing our conceptualisations of what academic literacy is. Yet two issues have evaded scrutiny: first, there is the
uncritical acceptance that academic writing is what should be taught, and
institutionalised. Second, there is a tendency to accept discipline specific academic literacy courses as necessarily superior to generic ones. There is a third, foundational level omission in our work. That is that there is little reciprocity in what we learn from applied linguistic artefacts in the realms of language testing, language course design, and language policy making. Why do we not check whether the design of a course should be done as responsibly as that of a test? What can test designers learn from course developers about specificity? There are many useful questions that
are right before us, but that we never seem to ask.

Key words: academic literacy, academic writing, discipline specific, academic
literacy test, curriculum, course, design
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