TOPICS Online Magazine

Student
Writing
Project

Teachers'
Corner

Home Page


Foundations of Academic Literacy: Course Overview

Tim Mossman from Canada

Tim Mossman is an Instructor at Simon Fraser University.

Tim Mossman
Photo from Tim Mossman
Tim Mossman says FAL has been designed to support and empower new and returning SFU students who want or need to become more comfortable and confident in their academic literacy skills.


The Foundations of Academic Literacy (FAL) x99 course at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada has been designed to support and empower new and returning SFU students who want or need to become more comfortable and confident in their academic literacy skills. FAL helps students become effective writers, problem-solvers, thinkers and learners.

The course is designed to help students make the transition from high school level studies to undergraduate level studies at Simon Fraser University, and to provide learners with a variety of opportunities to practice, develop, and apply in context, their academic literacy skills.

Other aims of the course are for learners to feel safe in the university classroom and to increase their confidence to take on further studies; to be able to apply the knowledge that they learn on the FAL course to the discipline-specific practices of their ongoing studies; to receive individualized advice on their learning needs; and to practice working individually and on group projects.

The compositions included in this project all tell a story. Some recall childhood memories; others describe uncomfortable moments. Throughout the course, students learned some of the writer’s “tricks of trade”: 1) “show, don’t tell”—using vivid, specific details that help the reader see the story in his/her mind’s eye, 2) writing about universal topics that everyone can relate to—childhood experiences, emotions, memories, fears, love—yet making them personal and specific, and 3) throwing the reader into the heat of the action by starting with action.

Simon Fraser University

Photo from Tim Mossman
Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada

The narratives included in this project show these “tricks of the trade” very well. Students also had opportunities to enrich their understanding of the narrative/writing process by attending storytelling and sessions film sessions. This part of the course was designed to help students develop a sense of confidence in their own abilities and in the importance of their own stories. Narrative was a key to students learning writing skills and gaining a voice in their writing. To facilitate this process, a professional story teller worked with the group in sharing and honoring their stories.


Go to:
Student Writing Project


Contact Tim Mossman:
timandeiko@telus.net | tmossman@sfu.ca


Return to: Teachers' Corner | Home Page

 
TOPICS Online Magazine - ©1997-2008 - Sandy and Thomas Peters - topics.mag@gmail.com