This article reports on recent research which found that academic communication skills are a problem for a surprisingly large proportion of English-speaking Australian students. Despite the widely-held recognition of the importance of academic literacy instruction in Australian higher education, literacy skills have previously been largely concerned with the English-language proficiency levels of international students. However, this article reports on research conducted at a university in Australia, which found that many Australian-born students report serious difficulties in mastering the academic communication skills necessary for optimal engagement in their tertiary studies. The data for this study was collected through a large-scale survey of the academic communication needs and communication practices of students within a university-wide academic and professional communication course at the institution. The findings point to the rather urgent need to promote informed policy that aims to improve the teaching of academic literacy skills of students at Australian universities.
- Australian higher education
- academic communication
- academic literacy
- literacy instruction
- research-based academic literacy instruction