I am a PhD student with a research interest in literacy practices in South African vocational higher education. Currently in my third year of study, the working title of my research project is "Contested Access: Explorations of student academic literacy practices in digital multimodal disciplinary contexts in South African vocational higher education" . This project stems from my teaching experience at a South African University of Technology for over 7 years and my interest in understanding how students attempt to gain access to the disciplinary environment of the courses they study, but also how curriculum and pedagogic interventions can help to facilitate such access. My study attempts to explore the literacy practices in disciplinary contexts where students produce multimodal assignment texts as the main assessment outcomes rather than relying on writing as their main means of demonstrating their learning. I also want to understand why certain literacy practices are privileged and how these literacy practices are shaped by wider socio-cultural and political process not directly visible in the practices. While the theoretical and methodological framing for my research is aligned to Academic Literacies, I am using the Bernsteinian concept of knowledge recontextualisation as a way of deepening the notion of context by paying particular attention to curriculum.
Theoretically I believe that an academic literacies research perspective provides a valuable lens to explore this research focus by foregrounding student experiences and emphasizing the social and ideologically situated nature of student writing and communication practices in higher education. I work in the 'messy' but insightful, rich and textured world of ethnographic research and completed a six months fieldwork period in South Africa in 2011. My supervision team is made up of Mary Lea and Robin Goodfellow.
BA (History and Psychology) - 1991: University of Cape Town
Higher Diploma in Education - 1992: University of Cape Town
Advanced Diploma for Educators of Adults - 1997: University of Cape Town
MPhil (Adult Education and Development) - 2002 : University of the Western Cape
MPhil (Higher Education Studies) - 2006 : University of Cape Town
MRes (Educational Technology) - 2009 : The Open University
South African Higher Education (with a particular focus on the University of Technology sector)
Curriculum design and development
Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
Currently I'm working on my PhD research project which aims to explore the literacy practices of students in vocational higher education in disciplinary environments where learning is primarily demonstrated through the production of multimodal assignments. I am particularity interested in exploring the academic literacy practices in these disciplinary contexts where learning is primarily demonstrated through the production of multimodal assignment. Additionally I'm interested in why certain academic literacy practices are foregrounded and want to explore the curriculum context as a way of understanding this question. I will be using the Bernsteinian concept of recontextualisation to help explore how knowledge and practices, particularly from the world of work, are transformed and adapted into the curriculum and how these process might shape the academic literacy practices evident and foregrounded in my research sites.
last updated 11-Jun-2012