Connecting language and learning: re-integrating academic and language/learning development
This presentation makes the case for a greater connection between academic development and language and learning development professionals in Australian higher education. In 2002, Rowland argued that academic development could work as a ‘re-integrating force’ (p54) to bring a sense of coherence to professional life in the academy that had become fragmented across five fault-lines: the purpose of higher education, the relationship between students and teachers, the relationship between teachers and managers, the tension between teaching and research, and the fragmentation of knowledge. In this presentation, I propose a sixth fault line; that is, the fracture between language and learning, which I argue is manifest in the historical bifurcation of academic and learning development practitioners in the academy. On the one hand, we could say that this bifurcation is representative of another dualism – that is, of theory and practice – but such a distinction would be a misrecognition of the kind of intellectual and practical work in which language and learning advisors engage. This presentation traces the historical bifurcation of academic and language and learning developers in Australian higher education in order to disturb the present distinction and show how it is more an accident of history than the result of sound pedagogical decision-making. It concludes by arguing for the ‘re-integration’ of academic and learning development in higher education to create research and teaching connections that develop synergies in educational development that are able to work with language and learning simultaneously. It is argued that such a move would result in a far more comprehensive set of improvements to teaching and learning processes in the university.