English-mediated oral presentations in pharmacy : exploring literacy practices among Saudi female undergraduates

Alghamdi, Noura and Potts, Diane (2018) English-mediated oral presentations in pharmacy : exploring literacy practices among Saudi female undergraduates. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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Research within English for Academic Purposes (EAP) often focuses on textual analyses of specific linguistic features in written discourse to help develop relevant pedagogic materials (Lillis & Scott, 2008). Because of the decontextualized nature of these investigations (Dressen-Hammouda, 2013), calls have emerged for in-depth investigations that give greater attention to the social practices surrounding learners’ language use. Focusing on oral presentations as a common academic genre for knowledge dissemination, this study employs an ethnographically-oriented case study to examine how eight year-five undergraduates in a Pharmacy College in Saudi Arabia engage with seminar presentations. The study adopts a social view of literacy to explore its complexity in this context (Barton & Hamilton, 1998; Pahl & Rowsell, 2006; Street, 1984). It also utilizes a social semiotic understanding of meaning-making to examine the presenters’ communicative choices (Kress, 2010; Kress, Jewitt, Ogborn, & Tsatsarelis, 2001; Leeuwen, 2005; Matusiak, 2013). Data for this investigation includes semi-structured interviews with participants, observations of seminar sessions, informal conversations with teaching and administrative staff and various students in the college, artefacts’ collection and research journal. Emergent themes highlight the complex practices involved in students’ development as professionals in pharmacy and the need to reconsider common EAP understandings of English-language proficiency. While exploring how participants address the demands of English-language use, the analysis highlights how these multilingual learners engage with the full repertoire of their semiotic resources to represent and communicate their knowledge. The study concludes by considering the implications for EAP practice. It points out to the effect that a social account of literacy may hold for teaching students in similar contexts. In addition, it calls for the need to provide a deeper understanding of language learners’ needs which shape their engagement with academic activities.

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Thesis (PhD)
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18 Dec 2018 11:02
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2023 01:02