This article critically explores the understandings about the English academic literacy needs of international graduate students from the perspective of academic teaching staff in a Faculty of Education at a large Australian university. Research suggests that international graduate students for whom English is another language, on coming to English speaking countries, acquire English academic literacies as part of a complex set of academic competencies needed for successful graduate study. In this study, 16 academic teaching staff participated in focus groups and revealed their understandings and practices about academic literacies in the context of their experiences of working with international graduate students as teachers and supervisors. Emergent thematic analysis and Bourdieu’s ideas of doxa, field, and habitus were used to examine the data. Findings revealed a range of beliefs about what international graduate students need regarding academic literacies and language support, and some contestation about the role of the academic in providing literacy support. This suggests challenges of consistency in graduate teaching and learning, and the need for greater clarity concerning what equitable support international students are given.


academic literacies, graduate education, teacher beliefs, academic teaching practices, Bourdieu, habitus, doxa

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Edwin Creely is an academic and teacher educator in the Faculty of Education at Monash university. He has research interest in literacy, creativity, graduate studies, ethnography, and phenomenological inquiry. Please direct correspondence to edwin.creely@monash.edu.

Dr. Raqib Chowdhury teaches TESOL, bilingualism and sociolinguistics in the Faculty of Education at Monash University. He researches in culture and pedagogy, teacher education, TESOL, EIL, and international education and identity. Please direct correspondence to raqib.chowdhury@monash.edu.

Dr. Jane Southcott is a Professor, Faculty of Education, Monash University, Australia. Jane researches international graduate students’ engagement with the academy and community engagement with music and cultural identity focusing on positive ageing. Jane supervises many postgraduate research students. She is Editor of the International Journal of Music Education and on the editorial boards of international refereed journals. Please direct correspondence to jane.southcott@monash.edu.

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