‘Maybe I can do this. Maybe I should be here’: evaluating an academic literacy, resilience and confidence programme

Christina Donovan*, Marianne Erskine-Shaw

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

It has been well documented in research that students from so-called ‘non-traditional’ backgrounds can experience significant difficulty in accessing higher education, in part due to a lack of cultural capital. This is further reinforced by ‘invisible pedagogic practices’ such as ‘critical analysis’, ‘structure’ and ‘argument’, which uphold the prestige of disciplines without adequately inducting students into such practices. Through the evaluation of an academic literacy intervention (‘ARC’) designed to improve the academic resilience and confidence of students on an undergraduate degree programme, this paper demonstrates that ‘literacy’ is as much a social practice as it is a set of applied skills. Thus, ‘academic literacy’ should constitute both study skills and academic socialisation. This paper further argues that the acquisition of ‘academic literacy’ necessitates the adoption of an ‘academic identity’, which is an emotional as well as an intellectual endeavour. This requires institutions to move away from the deficit model of ‘academic literacy support’ towards models which enable the construction of a shared academic identity and cultivate a sense of belonging to the university environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-340
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Further and Higher Education
Volume44
Issue number3
Early online date21 Jan 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2020

Keywords

  • Academic literacy
  • belonging
  • higher education
  • identity
  • widening participation

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