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Thursday, July 4 • 3:30pm - 4:10pm
Negotiating semantic waves: Integrating LCT into EAP

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International students make up more than 20% of student numbers at Australian universities, and are required to meet English language entry requirements for their destination faculties. A significant number of these students do so through high stakes university pathways programs which are designed to develop students’ knowledge of English for Academic Purposes (EAP). Such programs have a wide range of objectives, from developing students’ content knowledge and academic writing, reading, listening and speaking skills, to supporting student wellbeing and successfully transitioning them into Australian universities. While finding space in curricula to effectively build knowledge in all these areas presents challenges, LCT offers a pedagogical toolkit to reveal how this might be best achieved.

LCT’s dimension of semantics comprises two tools, semantic gravity and semantic density, which identify degrees of abstract knowledge and condensation of meaning. The weaving together of these meanings can be illustrated by a semantic wave, visually depicting the integration of conceptual understandings with application or problem-solving. A growing number of publications suggest that this is essential for cumulative knowledge-building in a range of academic disciplines (see e.g. Maton 2013, Blackie 2014, Szenes & Tilkaratna 2015, Georgiou 2016, Brooke 2016, Kirk 2017). The concept of the semantic wave has also been used in teacher training and development, and with academic language specialists (see e.g. Clarence 2017, Hassan 2017, Ingold & O’Sullivan 2017).

This presentation reports on ways in which Semantics is being used in EAP courses at Monash College to assist students in selecting and arranging knowledge in their academic writing. It also presents the challenges in designing materials for teachers with no knowledge of LCT, and negotiating space for materials in already packed curricula and syllabi.
This presentation demonstrates the recontextualisation of LCT’s dimension of Semantics in student-facing materials for EAP courses. These materials have been developed to clarify understanding of reflective writing in sociology courses, and reflective essays and reports in education. Challenges in their implementation will be presented for discussion.
In this way, the presentation will demonstrate the practical potential of LCT to empower students in academic writing while testifying to the real struggle of enacting change.

Thursday July 4, 2019 3:30pm - 4:10pm SAST
Room B46

Attendees (7)