Tell-tale signs: reflection towards the acquisition of academic discourses as second languages

  • Louise Olivier Centre for Academic and Professional Language Practice, Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University
  • Jako Olivier School of Languages, Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University
Keywords: academic discourses, second language acquisition, reflection, tertiary pedagogical practice


Parallels can be drawn between the acquisition of academic discourses and second languages. After enrolling in a sign language course, we – lecturers teaching academic discourses – decided to explore this phenomenon and determine the implications for pedagogical practice. Themes and codes were identified through qualitative analysis of reflection journals compiled during the course. It is suggested that pedagogical practice could be improved by adapting pace and lesson structure to students’ needs. It is clear that motivation is important for skills acquisition and can be facilitated by the creation of learning communities and accommodating different learning styles through differentiation. A safe learning environment is essential where a learning community is supported by effective use of technology. Additionally, an adequate balance of suitable content, opportunities for learning by example, having sufficient tools to reach measureable outcomes as well as creating opportunities for reinforcement of skills could all benefit the teaching of academic discourses.


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