Embedded Disciplinary Literacy in Science and Engineering: A Universal Design Case for Academic Inclusion
Spring Seminar Series
Published on behalf of Dr Rami Ghannam and Dr Imran Ansari (please contact to book place Imran.Ansari@glasgow.ac.uk) or if you are member of staff at the University of Glasgow find the information here (link opens in new window).
25th of February 3:30 GMT
Registration to be updated
At Queen Mary Engineering School (QMES) of Northwestern Polytechnical University of Xi’an (NPU) we have integrated English modules and STEM technical modules through the running of common coursework and projects. This results in streamlining of students work, through assessment of suitable learning outcomes in different modules. Working in a transnational education (TNE) space has made STEM academics in QMES aware of the importance of language in learning. This awareness is rather novel to STEM academics. STEM backgrounds do not provide enough reflection on disciplinary language issues. This is also largely unexplored in educational development programmes. While this reflection is unavoidable in TNE, teaching through English as a Medium of Instruction (EMI) to “non-native English speakers”, we conclude that similar issues arise teaching any discipline to any student in any language. After all, no student is a “native speaker of STEM”, or any other discipline. Even when the medium of instruction coincides with students’ native language a range of literacy skills and lack of focus on supporting disciplinary language development can become a barrier to learning and attainment, usually expressed as “I don’t understand”.
I will present a reflective account of this in-progress journey starting from EAP-STEM integration in QMES focused on EAP modules, through re-thinking STEM teaching in STEM modules, to proposing a new approach for STEM teaching in HE, TNE or otherwise.
Dr Gabriel Cavalli is Reader in Science and Engineering Education at the School of Engineering and Materials Sciences (SEMS), Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). He teaches at Queen Mary Engineering School of Northwestern Polytechnical University in Xi’an (China) (QMES). He is Director of the QMES International Centre for Teaching and Learning and SEMS Director of Teaching Development. He was awarded QMUL’s President and Principal’s Prize for Excellence in Education in 2020 for his work supporting colleagues in QMUL to shift to Blended Learning during the pandemic. Dr Cavalli’s work in educational research focuses on the impact of language, communication and disciplinary discourse in Education, both supporting disciplinary access to students in STEM, as well as disciplinary access to STEM academics to the literature and practices of Education. Dr Cavalli draws inspiration for this work from his experience as a non-native English speaker learner and academic practitioner in the UK, China and Uruguay. Gabriel is a Polymer Chemist by train (Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay and Imperial College London), and has taught Chemistry in Chemistry and Materials programmes in the UK, China and Uruguay.