Indicators Affecting the Development of First Year Students' Academic Literacy Skills in an English-medium Higher Education Institute in the Arabian Gulf Region
Hatakka, Mary Ragnhild Hilja
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Good academic literacy skills are vital for success in the 21st century for students in higher education and for professional people in the workforce to be able to process and convey information and knowledge. The purpose of the current study was to gain insights into the construct of academic literacy skills and to identify indicators affecting the development of the academic literacy skills of first year students in higher education. To this end, a case study was done on a cohort of 20 first year male Emirati students attending an academic literacy skills course in an engineering higher education institute in the Arabian Gulf region. The study was guided by three research questions concerning the development of academic literacy skills which were defined as writing strategies, library research strategies and general study skills (Bury, Sheese & Katz, 2013). Data gathered comprised surveys, grade comparisons, written assignments, semi-structured interviews, classroom observations recorded using a video camera and instructor observations. The framework of Academic Literacies developed by Lea and Street (1998, 2000, 2006) was used for analysis with a focus on the supplementing constructs of study skills and academic socialization. To extract more detailed knowledge and further insights about the students’ academic literacy skills, a comparison was also made between the developmental indicators regarding successful and non-successful students’ written work and their approaches to completing assignments. The indicators revealed included the students’ lack of library research strategies, digital literacy skills and sense of ownership. Theoretical and practical implications for developing students’ academic literacy skills are provided in conclusion.
EdD in TESOL