Using a Literacy Tutor's Reflexive Journaling for Addressing L1 Literacy Gaps in a Central Asian EMI University
Keywords:Language Socialisation; English as a Medium of Instruction; L1 Literacy foundations; L2-English Academic Literacy; Metalanguage
Literacy support in an EMI university in Central Asia (CA) helps students with the challenging linguistic demands of tertiary study in a second (foreign) language (L2). As Kazakhstan's post-Soviet education system (Yassukova, 2020) lacks significant first-language (L1) reading-to-write education (Keck, 2014; Friedman, 2019), English L2-literacy development has become even more difficult when compared to other regions of the world. Students’ literacy capabilities need to be investigated by L2-literacy tutors in order to scaffold learning better. Questions emerge as to whether it would help that the tutor had developed her L1 literacy through the same (but chronologically-earlier) system. To unpack this question, research can draw on perspectives in language socialisation (LS) (Duff, 2012), which sees learning environments as dynamic socially/culturally situated processes. To this end, this study looks at one L2-English literacy tutor's (author 2) experiences in a tertiary Foundation writing course. The goal was to see how the tutor’s interpretations of classroom literacy problems could inform the teaching of low L1-literacy students’ writing and metalanguage. For this purpose, we studied the reflective journaling (Burton, 2005) of the tutor who wrote reflective journals during a semester-long course in early 2020. The findings indicate that reflexivity can help a tutor find solutions, and that a similarity of background seems to help a local literacy tutor understand, and respond to, many of their students’ needs.