Embedded Academic Writing Support For Nursing Students With English As A Second Language

Blackwell Publishing
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal Of Advanced Nursing, 2010, 66 (2), pp. 413 - 421
Issue Date:
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Abstract Aim. This paper reports a study which evaluated a brief, embedded academic support workshop as a strategy for improving academic writing skills in first-year nursing students with low-to-medium English language proficiency. Background. Nursing students who speak English as a second language have lower academic success compared with their native English-speaking counterparts. The development of academic writing skills is known to be most effective when embedded into discipline-specific curricula. Methods. Using a randomized controlled design, in 2008 106 students pre-enrolled in an introductory bioscience subject were randomized to receive either the intervention, a 4-day embedded academic learning support workshop facilitated by two bioscience (content) nursing academics and a writing and editing professional, or to act as the control group. The primary focus of the workshop was to support students to work through a mock assignment by providing progressive feedback and written suggestions on how to improve their answers. Results. Of the 59 students randomized to the intervention, only 28 attended the workshop. Bioscience assignment results were analysed for those who attended (attendees), those randomized to the intervention but who did not attend (nonattendees), and the control group. Using ANOVA, the results indicated that attendees achieved statistically significantly higher mean scores (70.8, SD: 6.1) compared to both control group (58.4, SD: 3.4, P = 0.002) and non-attendees (48.5, SD: 5.5, P = 0.001). Conclusion. A brief, intensive, embedded academic support workshop was effective in improving the academic writing ability of nursing students with low-to-medium English language proficiency, although reaching all students who are likely to benefit from this intervention remains a challenge.
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