The influence of affective variables on the acquisition of academic literacy

Louise Olivier, Jako Olivier


The teaching of academic literacy at university level, internationally and at universities in South Africa, is quite common. Despite a great deal of research on various facets of academic literacy, little research has been done in terms of the influence of attitudes, emotions and motivation as affective variables at the start of an academic literacy module. It is clear that societal and contextual factors have an influence on the emotions, motivation and attitudes of students. This article reports on open-ended questionnaires and a focus group interview conducted with students enrolled in an academic literacy module at the start of the module, as well as an open-ended questionnaire after the completion of the module. The initial phases of the research show students’ negativity towards the module; however, after the completion of the module, students realise the value thereof. It is clear that within the context of the research populations in this study, more transparency is needed regarding the academic literacy test written prior to the start of the module, and students need to be better informed about the module so as not to only rely on peers’ perceptions of the module. Furthermore, modules should be subject-specific rather than generic and relevant to the needs of the students.


Academic literacy; compulsory courses; affective variables; positive psychology; peer influence; attitude; motivation; emotions; language testing; language learning; social constructivism; social learning theory

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ISSN 2224-0012 (online); ISSN 0259-2312 (print)

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