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Comparative study of academic support

 Comparative research examines English language support
Comparative research examines English language support

A Victoria University researcher and lecturer is part of an Australian-German team to receive an $18,000 grant to help improve academic support for non-native English speakers who study in English. 

Researcher Dr Britta Schneider said the grant will explore existing policies, practices, and underlying theories of academic writing support for these students, through a first-of-its kind comparative study of support initiatives offered at universities in Australia and Germany.

The research will examine the similarities and differences, and theoretical underpinnings of the two international contexts when students are offered academic support to study in a second language.

The grant is from the Australia-Germany Joint Research Cooperation Scheme 2017-2018, under the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst – DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service).

The study will be conducted with researchers from Victoria University, Latrobe University, and the University of Konstanz in southern Germany.

“Increasing numbers of non-native-English-speaking students are studying at university through the medium of the English language,” she said.

“Whether they spend one semester or their whole degree in these countries, many face the challenge of writing in English – their second or additional language – to meet expected standards.”

This may involve meeting standards for critical and conceptual thinking, synthesising theory and research, understanding disciplinary practices and discourses, and using grammatically-accurate language, she said.

“Both countries have support in place to orient learners to the kinds of writing required, and on the face of it, these initiatives seem similar.

Our research will establish similarities and differences in writing pedagogies and the global use of English in two leading countries of internationalised and global learning,” Dr Schneider said.

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