The 'deficit-discourse' shift: university teachers and their role in helping first year students persevere and succeed in the new university culture

Lawrence, Jill (2003) The 'deficit-discourse' shift: university teachers and their role in helping first year students persevere and succeed in the new university culture. UltiBASE. ISSN 1443-7023

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[Abstract]: This paper argues that the contemporary Australian university constitutes a new and unfamiliar culture for the increasing numbers and diversity of students accessing it. Traditional university responses to this increasing participation, however, often conceptualise diversity in terms of scholastic deficits or a lack of academic literacy. Inherent is the assumption that there is one mainstream discourse and that languages and literacies other than those of the dominant mainstream represent a deficit or a deficiency on the part of students who do not possess them. An alternative approach, utilising Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) re-conceptualises the contemporary university as a dynamic culture, subject to ongoing and rapid change and encompassing a multiplicity of diverse cultures and sub-cultures. The students' transition to it is then re-positioned as one of gaining familiarity with, engaging and mastering the new culture's multiple discourses. This paper will argue that academics share a responsibility in this process, collaborating with students to help them access and negotiate, and ultimately, to succeed, by mastering and demonstrating the new university discourses.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Invited paper. Copyright © Jill Lawrence, 2003. For uses other than personal research or study, as permitted under the Copyright Laws of your country, permission must be negotiated with the author. Any further publication permitted by the author must include full acknowledgement of first publication in ultiBASE ( Please contact the Editor of ultiBASE for assistance with acknowledgement of subsequent publication.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Arts - Department of Humanities and International Studies
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2009 01:21
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 23:21
Uncontrolled Keywords: critical discourse analysis, first year experience, freshman, higher education, language, literacy
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education

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