The enhancement of academic literacies in a portuguese university: discussing a course, its theoretical basis and methodologies

Conference Paper

Despite the recognition of students’ difficulties, the teaching of academic writing has no tradition in higher education in Portugal. There are, however, some successful approaches to this area, carried out in some universities where, at the suggestion of some professors, optional courses are being offered to undergraduate and postgraduate students (Carvalho, 2012).
The aim of this paper is to present and discuss a course, organized in one of the new Portuguese universities, which aims to promote the academic literacy skills of its students.
Placing the issue of academic writing in the broader framework of academic literacies (Lea & Street, 1998; Russell et al, 2009), this course aims at raising students' awareness of academic language and its role in learning and expressing knowledge. Focussing both comprehension and writing processes, the course enhances students’ consciousness of the high specificity of academic texts that stems not only from their scientific domain but also from the commuinities and contexts in which they are produced and read. Furthermore, the course is predominantly practical, since it aims an appropriation of the textual genres by the students through actions of use of the language in a real context of learning (Carlino, 2013).
In addition to its theoretical ground, this presentation discusses the rationale of the contents, the methodologies and the evaluation processes of the course, which is eminently practical. It implies several reading and writing tasks involving different academic textual genres.
As a conclusion, students’ achievements and difficulties are analysed.
This work is funded by CIEd – Research Centre on Education, Projects UID/CED/1661/2013 and UID/CED/1661/2016, Institute of Education, University of Minho, through national funds of FCT/MCTES-PT


Year of publication: 2017


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