Content teachers’ perceptions of communication and their influence on levels of integration
Content teachers’ perceptions of the role of communication in an integrated language and content context are likely to affect their engagement in courses and activities where content and language are integrated. On the basis of an interview study, we show that some engineering teachers have a skills view on communication. The results also indicate that there is a gap in the perception between teachers on the programme and people at programme management level. In this presentation we discuss these two findings in relation to levels of integration. One of the potential problems is that the skills view of communication is not conducive with genuine constructivist philosophies of teaching and learning. The skills view may not present major problems to the integration as long as the integration stays at the level of skills or complements. The integration can work well both in terms of teacher collaboration and students’ production of communication products. However, when or if the collaboration is to move beyond the basic skills or complement level, content teachers’ perceptions of communication as a skill can become hurdles to integration (cf. Jacob’s (2007) discussion of conceptualisations of academic literacies). To move towards levels at which communication is perceived as an important tool for learning, the goals of the integration must be revised, the collaboration deepened, and student activities changed. We will relate the notions of perceptions and levels to Barrie’s (2006) levels of conceptions of generic attributes and Barrie’s (2007) framework of student engagement and learning.
levels of integration