Reading and writing across cultures: Using a social literacies approach to account for the experiences of Libyan students in South African higher education
Burka, Turkeya Burka Ali
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Internationalisation or the “process of integrating an international/intercultural dimension into the teaching, research and service functions of a higher education institution” (Knight 1997: 8) has become an important aspect of the domination of higher education institutions. In South Africa as in countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Japan and Canada, there have been dramatic increases in the numbers of international students. Research shows that the majority of these international students experience various difficulties when the academic culture of the host environment is different from that of the home environment in many respects (Al-Murshidi, 2014; Abukhattala, 2013). The present study employs a social approach to academic literacies (Barton and Hamilton, 2000) to examine the academic reading and writing practices of a group of Libyan students in South Africa (against the backdrop of the home academic culture). Using both quantitative and qualitative methods (Creswell and Plano, 2011), data were collected and analysed to address reading and writing across Libyan and South African academic cultures. The sources of data include Facebook discussions, focus group discussions, questionnaires, documents (such as policies of UWC relevant to my study), and interviews with selected UWC officials. Thematic analysis was used to analyse qualitative data whereas SPSS was used to analyse quantitative data.