A study of multilingual Extended Degree Programme (EDP) students: The construction of voice through metadiscourse markers in written texts

Lotter, Risha Shalome Jedidiah (2018-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Higher Education has become increasingly diverse, and this is especially true in South Africa where universities have adapted to allow for more equitable access. To facilitate student success in this changing environment, South African Higher Education institutions have put several strategies in place, among which foundational programmes. These programmes are targeted towards students who can stand to benefit from a more thorough introduction to the academic practices of universities. At Stellenbosch University, such foundational programmes are called Extended Degree Programmes (EDP), and they usually extend degrees by a year. Research is increasingly being done on foundational programmes to determine pedagogical best practices and continually improve the nature of such courses; however, ‘voice’ as a contributor to academic writing success among such foundational programme students has rarely been investigated. This study thus undertook to investigate said voice among a group of EDP students at Stellenbosch University, by analysing their use of metadiscourse markers. Hyland and Tse’s (2004) model for metadiscourse markers was utilised for these analyses, since this model expressly approaches metadiscourse from an interpersonal standpoint. In other words, this model considers metadiscourse to be a resource used by students to make their presence felt within their writing, thus using it to craft their voices. Essays from a first-year EDP class in the Arts and Social Sciences faculty were analysed, of which some had been written at the start of the students’ academic career, and the remaining written after 5 months of instruction. The research participants were from varied backgrounds, more than half of them being second-language (L2) students; as such their sociolinguistic contexts were considered a valuable resource, both to the students in question and for this research. First and second-language students’ (L1 and L2) uses of metadiscourse were compared with each other and measured over time. It was found that L1 and L2 students do approach academic writing with different resources, and that after five months of instruction they still show some differences, particularly in how they build coherence and self-reference into their essays. However, both L1 and L2 students tended to apply more standardised academic norms in their essays after some exposure to academic writing, particularly incorporating frame markers and evidentials. Nonetheless, from these students’ often irregular use of metadiscourse is was clear that they had yet to perfect an authoritative academic voice for themselves.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hoer-Onderwys word toenemend divers, ʼn verskynsel wat veral sigbaar is in Suid-Afrika waar universiteite hulleself aangepas het om meer billike toegang te verleen. Om studentesukses binne hierdie veranderende omgewing te fasiliteer, het Suid-Afrikaanse Hoë-Onderwysinstellings ʼn verskeidenheid strategieë in plek gestel, onder meer fondasieprogramme. Dié programme is gemik op studente wat kan baat vind by ʼn meer deeglike inleiding tot universiteite se akademiese praktyke. By Stellenbosch Universiteit word sulke programme Verlengde Graadprogramme (VGP) genoem, en hulle verleng tipies graadstudies met ʼn verdere jaar. Navorsing word toenemend gedoen oor hierdie fondasieprogramme om die beste pedagogiese praktyke te bepaal en deurlopend die aard van hierdie kursusse te verbeter; ‘stem’ as ʼn bydraer tot akademiese skryfsukses onder sulke fondasieprogram- studente word egter selde ondersoek. Hierdie studie het dus onderneem om stem onder ʼn groep VGP studente by Stellenbosch Universiteit te ondersoek, by wyse van hulle gebruik van metadiskoersmerkers. Hyland en Tse se 2004 model vir metadiskoersanalise is hiervoor gebruik, aangesien hierdie model metadiskoers uitdruklik vanuit ʼn interpersoonlike hoek benader. Met ander woorde, hierdie model beskou metadiskoers as ʼn hulpbron wat deur studente benut word om hulle teenwoordigheid te laat geld binne hulle skryfwerk, en dit dus gebruik om hulle eie stemme te skep. Opstelle vanuit ʼn eerstejaar-VGP klas in die Lettere en Sosiale Wetenskappe-fakulteit is geanaliseer, waarvan sommige met die aanvang van hierdie studente se akademiese jaar geskryf is, en die oorblywende na verloop van vyf maande se onderrig. Die betrokke studente was afkomstig vanuit ʼn verskeidenheid agtergronde, meer as die helfte van hulle was tweedetaalsprekers (T2); as sulks is hulle sosiolinguistiese kontekste as ʼn waardevolle hulpbron beskou, beide vir die studente self en vir hierdie navorsing. Eerste- en tweedetaalstudente (T1 en T2) se gebruik van metadiskoersmerkers is teen mekaar vergelyk, asook oor die verloop van tyd. Daar is gevind dat T1 en T2 studente inderdaad akademiese skryfwerk met verskillende hulpbronne nader, en dat verskille tussen dié twee groep steeds na vyf maande se onderrig waargeneem kon word, spesifiek in hoe hulle samehang en selfverwysing in hulle skryfwerk inbou. Beide T1 en T2 studente het egter geneig daartoe om meer gestandaardiseerde akademiese norme in hulle opstelle toe te pas na verdere blootstelling aan akademiese skrywe, spesifiek deur raammerkers en bewyse te inkorporeer. Desnieteenstaande kan daar uit hierdie studente se soms onreëlmatige gebruik van metadiskoers afgelei word dat gesaghebbende akademiese stemme nog by hierdie studente ontbreek.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/103647
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