Language-Focused Feedback and Written Communication Difficulties of Multilingual Students: Improving Teacher Preparedness
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A great proportion of Australian university classrooms are now linguistically and culturally diverse. Despite various strategies to improve academic literacy skills of students in these settings, written communication skills, in particular, continue to be a challenge. Provision of effective language-focused feedback is believed to have substantial potential in redressing this situation. The study reported in this chapter involves interactions between a team of Language and Learning Advisers (LLAs), and the teaching team (full-time academics/course leaders and casual marking tutors) of a core first year marketing course during a two phase project at an Australian university that aimed to help its large multilingual student cohort improve their English language development (ELD) and written communication skills. The project introduced a feedback framework to support written communication along with a suggested comments bank developed to support the course’s casual marking tutors to provide feedback on language use and writing. The application of the resources included delivering professional development (PD) sessions for marking tutors on the importance of continuously supporting students’ ELD and written communication using feedback. We use findings from analysis of documents and surveys to foreground the complexities involved in the provision of language-focused feedback in multilingual settings, including issues of tutor preparedness to tackle pedagogic needs of students. We conclude with insights as to how these findings extend to similar contexts where there is a need to prepare casual marking tutors with a view to alleviating issues of written communication skills of linguistically diverse students.
KeywordsWritten communication skill Multilingual students Multilingual setting Language-focused feedback English language development
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