With growing concerns about an academic literacy crisis plaguing the education system in South Africa, tertiary institutions have to find ways to strengthen the academic literacy skills of underprepared students transitioning into higher education. This is more pressing for low socioeconomic status students who are linguistically marginalised and face historically poor graduation prospects. In response, this chapter offers a snapshot of two studies conducted in South Africa that sought to test the efficacy of a purposefully designed academic literacy intervention (Reading to Learn (RtL)). The intervention sought to address inequitable academic literacy skills development of linguistically marginalised students, who are also socioeconomically disadvantaged. Two small-scale, longitudinal studies were run in two separate educational contexts in South Africa – a senior secondary school context and a tertiary context with largely first-generation undergraduate students. Results of both studies showed the RtL intervention to be successful at raising the level of academic writing skills of the research participants. Furthermore, similar to other RtL studies conducted globally, the two studies found weaker-performing students made the greatest gains in their academic writing skills, showing evidence of a convergence effect – more equitable learning outcomes being exhibited in the English classroom.
Millin, T. and Millin, M. (2019), "An Equity-Based Model of Teaching and Learning: Bridging the Academic Literacy Skills Divide in the English Classroom in South Africa", Hoffman, J., Blessinger, P. and Makhanya, M. (Ed.) Strategies for Fostering Inclusive Classrooms in Higher Education: International Perspectives on Equity and Inclusion (Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning, Vol. 16), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 129-151. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2055-364120190000016012Download as .RIS
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