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Second Language Academic Literacy Development in Libyan Higher Education

Ali Hawedi, Ragab (2015) Second Language Academic Literacy Development in Libyan Higher Education. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

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Drawing on recent literacy studies, this thesis examines second language academic literacy development in Libyan higher education. A novel intervention programme focusing on academic writing through an action research approach was undertaken with a group of 30 undergraduate university students, majoring in English as a foreign language who were studying in a college of education at a university in the North West of Libya.
The research was guided by five main aims: firstly, to explore Libyan higher education students’ perceptions regarding the influence of their socio-cultural and educational background, and the institutional context on their academic literacy development; secondly, to examine their views and thoughts about the concept of academic literacy and its development within their institution; thirdly, to apply the genre approach to teaching writing as an innovation in a Libyan context in order to raise participants’ awareness of how English academic literacy might be developed; fourthly, to employ action research to develop practice in order to improve teaching and learning L2 (Second Language) writing in a Libyan context; and finally, to contribute to building theory in the field of teaching English L2 academic literacy in higher education in Libya.
The field work was conducted over six months, and to gather data for analysis, the study employed five tools of data collection: observation, using a teacher journal to monitor the students’ learning performance; students’ written feedback on sessions; samples of the students’ written work; a questionnaire and an interview administrated at the end of the intervention programme with further interviews a year after conducting the initial empirical research.
Data analysis revealed inadequacies in the role of the wider socio-cultural environment for acquisition and practice of English reading and writing at school and also for the development of academic literacy in higher education. English is viewed as a school subject rather than a language and the concept of academic literacy is not familiar in a Libyan context so there are few opportunities for students to develop outside the classroom. The problems students encounter in language and in writing also revealed limitations in the teaching within Libyan institutions. Students who experienced the intervention programme appreciated the significance of English academic literacy and felt it should be promoted through individual and social awareness and within an educational environment which encourages its multifaceted nature, and the need for resources and a more participative pedagogical approach.
Finally, this study suggests that the genre approach, as yet unfamiliar in Libya, might be helpful for students to improve their L2 writing capabilities and encourage awareness of academic literacy through learning by doing and through engagement with language as a holistic process. Action research, also unfamiliar in Libya, proved significant in professional and pedagogical development and in the creation of a more student-centred classroom in which students felt empowered to participate and to engage in the teaching and learning process

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Schools: School of Education and Professional Development
Depositing User: Elizabeth Boulton
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2015 14:36
Last Modified: 13 Aug 2016 03:09


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