A Pedagogical Approach for Accessing Disciplinary Knowledge through Multiple Literacies: a Case Study in Tertiary Education

Daddow, Angela (2015) A Pedagogical Approach for Accessing Disciplinary Knowledge through Multiple Literacies: a Case Study in Tertiary Education. Other Degree thesis, Victoria University.


Policies of widening participation and internationalisation in Australian universities have escalated student numbers and increased the proportion of diverse and ‘non-traditional’ students. Newer students and their educators are challenged by aspects of this new diversity, particularly the divide between the literacy practices of ‘non-traditional’ students entering tertiary education and those required for success in academic and professional worlds. This challenge is compounded by diversification of textual resources in institutional and life-world contexts through global and digital connectivity. In spite of these momentous trends, traditional university curricula and pedagogies retain literacies based in elite social-structural positions, which exclude the literacy practices and life-worlds of ‘non-traditional’ students, potentially disadvantaging them in their learning. In a case study using practitioner Action Research, this thesis examines the possibilities and constraints that emerge when students’ literacy practices are utilised as assets for learning, and elite academic codes are made explicit, in university curriculum and pedagogy. These asset-oriented pedagogic approaches were enacted over two cycles of research in a Bachelor of Social Work undergraduate program in an Australian University, providing basic research to illuminate wider consideration in other disciplinary areas of the contemporary university. Participating students responded to questionnaires and focus groups, educators were interviewed and the researcher maintained a field journal throughout to examine the possibilities and constraints that emerged from the curriculum and pedagogies that were introduced. It is argued that these curricular and pedagogic practices offer possibilities to amplify learning for all students, and bridge socio-cultural divides that tend to disadvantage ‘non-traditional’ students. The research confirmed the potential of such practices to create effective bridges between the literacies of ‘non-traditional’ students and the acquisition of disciplinary knowledge, facilitating the successful participation of all students. At the same time, institutional arrangements - governed by economic, cultural and socio-political conditions besetting tertiary education - constrained these potentials. It is argued that these constraints need to be negotiated and challenged to enable broader application that might contribute to a more equitable tertiary education system.

Additional Information

Doctor of Education

Item type Thesis (Other Degree thesis)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/29682
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > College of Education
Keywords higher education, university education, universities, inclusion, equity, participation, inclusive curricula, curriculum, teaching, inclusive pedagogies, pedagogy, participation, diversity, funds of literacy, funds of knowledge, socio-structural positioning, FoL, FoK, epistemological access, epistemology, Australia
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