Discipline-specific versus generic academic literacy courses

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on Sunday, 23 February 2014 in Publications

Gustav_Butler Dr Gustav Butler of NWU and an ICELDA project associate has written what one observer has described as a “carefully researched, sober, informative and balanced” overview of the debate in South Africa on whether the designs of academic literacy interventions should be discipline-specific or generic. Noting the lack of evidence of real impact on both sides of the debate, he pleads with the designers of such courses to avoid becoming the victim of “the latest theoretical fad without … any substantial evidence” on the impact of the kind of intervention proposed. Dr Butler, an expert on academic writing, has been involved in the design of several of ICELDA’s tests, most notably the widely used Test of Academic Literacy for Postgraduate Students (TALPS). He is also a leading supervisor of studies being undertaken by ICELDA on the examination of Home Languages at Grade 12 level, and achieving equivalence among these. His study, entitled “Discipline-specific versus generic academic literacy intervention for university education: An issue of impact?”, is available online at