27 SES 14 B, Literacy and Didactics: Perspectives, Practices and Consequences II
In this paper we make a case that the concept of disciplinary literacy may be used as a useful shorthand for the overarching goal of higher education. Disciplinary literacy is defined by combining Gee’s (1991) definition of literacy with Roberts’ (2007) description of scientific literacy and Petersen and Shaw’s (2002) notion of “communities served”. The resulting disciplinary literacy triangle emphasises disciplinary literacy for three separate sites, the academy, the workplace and society. Each of the three sites also has a national and an international form. Thus, literacy for a given discipline will entail a unique combination of six separate ‘literacies’. Each, discipline will place a different emphasis on each of these literacies. Moreover, within a single discipline this emphasis is likely to vary somewhat depending on the lecturer’s preference, the particular course, the type of student and the nature of the institutional and national environment. Disciplinary literacy is illustrated through interviews with university lecturers from Sweden and South Africa in a single discipline (physics). Differences and similarities in lecturers’ disciplinary literacy goals between and within Sweden and South Africa are discussed.
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