Journal for Language Teaching

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Collaboration: The key to integration of language and content in academic literacy interventions

A Carstens


This contribution enters into dialogue with studies conducted both at school and university level on the effectiveness of interaction between subject   teachers and language teachers to improve learners’ subject-specific  discourse literacies. An overview is given of the key findings of a report by the National Center for Literacy Education (2013) in the USA, and main findings are linked to two recent South African studies on collaborative approaches to academic literacy support in higher education. This is followed by a comparison of the school and university settings under scrutiny, with specific emphasis on the shared success factors. An analysis
of two curricula for academic literacy offerings at a university that is in the
process of introducing subject-specific academic literacy interventions  indicates that the effectiveness of the interventions is not necessarily dependent on team teaching approaches, but on institutionally supported, regular, integrative, mutually consultative planning with all stakeholders involved in an atmosphere informed by study and ongoing review.

Key words: academic literacy, collaboration, discourse literacy, discursive spaces, subject-specific academic literacy, team-teaching.
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