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Modern Literary Dissociation:

Degenerative Academic Values in Ascertaining Student Literacy


In this modern age, the societal conditioning inherent in the broader context of cultural assimilation and
social conditioning prevalent in modern day society, Australian niversities no! employ societal
conditioning teaching the belief that traditional "nglish language comprehension is perceived as being
outdated and irrelevant as against modern social constructs# Approach to and consideration of the
teaching practices in Australian universities is implicitly concerned !ith a stringent adherence to the
modernistic interpretation of academic literacy s$ills# %his ne!&age approach is dissociative in its
application of generalised vie!s as against traditional literacy s$ills# 'hilst some academic authorities
are exacting in their coherence !ith modernistic vie!s such as (deficit&profiles( and sociocultural
definitions of university students, these models are essentially assumptions as to the predisposition and
subse)uent capacity of students !ithin the environment of an Australian university institution# %his
ideology, as applied to academic literacy, the importance and necessity of t!o ma*or and predominant
literacy based attributes+ high&level academic reading,comprehension s$ills and strong grammatical
!riting s$ills, are broadly overloo$ed in the )uestionable *ustification that (%he traditional and
generally implicit models of academic literacy are often considered benign and neutral#( -.enderson
and .urst /001, 23 %his ideology in itself is blatantly conflicted+ clearly it is a degenerative and highly
fla!ed interpretation of ho! Australian university students must develop academic literacy pertinent to
modern society# In regards to any extraction or profile of student, it is clear that irrespective of their
culture or socioeconomic position, they !ill truly benefit from strong competency levels in reading and
!riting# %his modern&age permutation !ithin Australian universities has evolved into an unnecessary
generalisation in a sociocultural sense+ it has stripped students of their ultimate potential in
development of academic literacy s$ills such as high&level reading and !riting# %herefore, academic
literacy and competency at a high standard in the measure of academic reading and !riting is
absolutely imperative to all types of students at Australian universities+ as a time&established foundation
of academic ability, academic reading and !riting s$ills undoubtedly underpin and comprise the
essence of Australian university students !ho strive for perfection and progressive improvement in the
dynamic proficiency, tenacity, refinement and precision in the composition of their academic !or$s#
A conflicted vie! of deficit&profiles and perceptions of (disadvantaged( students, as they are applied to
individuals and their social or cultural situations, is purportedly evidenced by the idea that (4ompetence
!ith academic language and particular discipline&based reading and !riting practices !as e)uated
traditionally !ith being intelligent and erudite#( -.enderson and .urst, /001, 53 %his statement carries
!ith it a re)uisite predetermination and adoption of the belief that someho! reading and !riting
practices, as developmental tools for academic literacy in these specific s$ill sets, are apparently no!
obsolete in application of a modern&age perspective on academic literacy re)uirements# %he reasoning
given for this assumption is that, according to the same authors, ('e need to )uestion !hether
university sub*ects are providing opportunities for students to engage !ith the literacy practices that are
relevant to their societal needs#( -.enderson and .urst, /001, 53
%he authors of this academic !or$, in substantiating their vie! on the seemingly outdated practice of
traditional, discipline&specific academic literacy s$ills, are )uoted as determining that the social needs
of students are of higher value and importance than application of proficient reading and !riting s$ills#
%he authors of the above academic !or$ dra! on vague social parameters as the basis of their
denunciation of the traditional s$ills of reading and !riting# %herefore, !hile the authors of this !or$
may argue that their vie! on a revised literacy model is holistic and accomodative in prioritising social
needs of students above the necessity of university&level competence in reading and !riting s$ill levels,
it is seen as fla!ed# %he rationale that social constructs, as a contextual point of difference and
inhibiting factor limiting student ability, are given higher importance as against the positive and
constructive development of academic literacy s$ills in the case of Australian university students, may
be assessed as unsubstantiated and inconclusive in its direction# %his concept detracts from the
importance of developing strong academic literacy s$ills, as !ell as being implicitly negative and
discriminatory !hen applied to sociocultural issues prevalent in modern society# Academic reading and
!riting s$ills should be cherished as a developmental tool !hich produce successful results, and
nothing else# All students should be encouraged to develop these s$ills, regardless of their bac$ground#
Subse)uently, incorporation of such (deficit profiles( and socioeconomic categori6ation of students as
pertaining to their cultural, linguistic or racial bac$ground !ithin a socioeconomic context as a
barometer for learning capability, is nonchalant and misguided at best# Moreover, this attempt as a
credible and reliable measure of any students scholastic potential and future development is a gross
misinterpretation of the value of academic literacy as a concept# .igh&level academic literacy, in
application to both socially privileged and challenged students, is important and valuable#
%he intrinsic, time&proven and traditional measures of an Australian university student(s academic
success, !hich includes aptitude and excellence in the application of academic literacy, are constituted
by strong academic reading and !riting s$ills# As evidenced by a recent study at the niversity of
7otre Dame in 8remantle 'estern Australia & (Academic literacies re)uire all students to be able to read
and !rite using and understanding the conventions and genres of academic !riting#( Pass is not a pass
-Mc7aught and McIntyre, /001, 23
A similar, related academic !or$ by the same authors also states that (%he identification of e)uity
groups and subgroups such as non&"nglish spea$ing bac$ground, lo! socioeconomic status, rural and
isolated students, can also provide opportunities for proactive support being in place#( -Mc7aught and
McIntyre, /02/, 23
An academically literate student possesses high developmental levels of grammatical s$ill and
application to essay !riting for the purpose of articulating and constructing sound arguments# %he
development and establishment of the specific s$ill of academic !riting, as an example in this case of
improving literary proficiency, is evidenced in the follo!ing extract: (Analysis of essay !riting
confidence !as conducted to examine if confidence levels differed in this cohort based on gender,
current course, or entry to university#( -Mc7aught and McIntyre, /02/, 13 %he subse)uent results !ere
collated in the pursuit of a sound and result driven strategy !hich aims to encourage and assist in the
development of essay !riting s$ills for university students# %his consultative approach is fantastic as it
allo!s for students to express their o!n confidence levels, set against the positive bac$drop of essay
!riting improvement and development# %his is truly a valuable strategy that assists in student
achievement+ the approach is instrumental in the development and reali6ation of the upper limits of a
student(s potential, and it proves that students thrive on !riting as a life s$ill and academic literacy#
%his example sho!s that reading and !riting as specific demonstrative examples of academic literacy
is prevalent and necessary in all situational applications+ this reading and !riting literacy pertains to
any Australian university student, irrespective of their bac$ground# It also demonstrates that social and
cultural diversity is not seen as a restriction, rather a developmental opportunity in terms of the inherent
potential that a student possesses, and this diversity may be used to deliver specific modes of support
for students !ho are encouraged in correctly pursuing the highest levels of academic literacy in reading
and !riting# %he correct pursuit of reading and !riting as competencies is invaluable to this day#
%he academic !or$s included in this paper are referenced as having established the existence and
prevalence of deficit models in some specific cases+ ho!ever, the crucial difference is that they
positively use these categori6ations of particular students to create further developmental opportunities
in teaching students concurrent !ith their social and cultural bac$grounds# Academic reading and
!riting is competency is a collective s$ill set !hich, in perpetuity, allo!s for consistent self&betterment
and analysis# Most importantly the application of proficiency and articulation in high&level reading and
!riting s$ills in these examples is readily applied to the academic learning environment and to society
in general# As such, they target and emphasise the re)uired literacy s$ills that are of importance to each
students developmental potential, and avoid discriminating against students because of their social
bac$grounds and cultural dispositions+ conversely, they perceive these conditions as attributes !hich
contribute to a consultative learning process# %his positive approach relies on establishment of
consultation !ithin the students social and cultural identities, and is pertinent to individual students
situational needs in $eeping !ith specific development of academic literacy# In many cases, the
student(s academic s$ills are identified and established as reading and !riting proficiencies# Students
must ultimately al!ays strive to develop their reading and !riting s$ills to the best of their ability#
Reference List
Using core academic literacy course results to create a
profile for potentially at risk students