Supporting pre-service teachers' academic literacy development

Elizabeth Anne WALKER, An E HE

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


High levels of academic literacy among teachers are imperative if they are to help their students master highly valued academic discourses. To meet the challenge of inducting into dominant discourses the numbers of [teacher education] students who come to university with limited literacy skills, educators have been urged to 'identify strategies' for teaching literacy and further, to prioritise discipline-based literacy practices. This article presents in detail practices for supporting student teachers' development of academic literacy within a discipline. This practice is an emerging response to problems with traditional support measures such as withdrawal for 'at risk' students, or provision of 'foundation courses' not contextualised within any specific academic discipline, which entail at most tacit literacy acquisition and intuitive application. The practice presented here is, the authors claim, more detailed/informative, more systematically linguistically theorised, and more appropriately discipline-based than other support measures. The literacy support related to tasks which were for formal assessment in two courses of the linguistic strand of an undergraduate language teacher education program. The course participants were Chinese native speaking, advanced English learners, studying to qualify as teachers of English-as-foreign-language (EFL) in primary or secondary schools in Hong Kong. The article details the support's theoretical basis in systemic functional linguistics and the nature of the text-based practice. While acknowledging limitations, the authors argue for the capacity of the practice to benefit discipline- based literacy awareness; its power to support development of even the most competent student-writers; and its potential delivery flexibility. Copyright © 2013 Australian Reading Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-192
JournalAustralian Journal of Language and Literacy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013


Walker, E., & Ane-e, H. (2013). Supporting pre-service teachers' academic literacy development. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 36(3), 181-192.


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