One step at a time: Aligning theory and practice in a tertiary embedding initiative


  • Dorothy Economou University of Sydney, Australia


curriculum embedding, academic language and learning, faculty collaboration, Systemic Functional Linguistics, Teaching-Learning Cycle


The widespread, theoretically-informed practice of curricula embedded academic language and learning development is generally acknowledged as the most productive method of improving tertiary student outcomes. University-wide comprehensive support, however, for the collaborative processes of interdisciplinary research, design, resource and staff development required to achieve this, is not common. Yet many practitioners continue to engage in embedding initiatives in response to faculty requests, despite institutional constraints on time and funding. This paper documents one such initiative, a common yet under-reported type, conducted one small step at a time over a number of years in a first-year core unit in the architecture faculty of a large metropolitan university in Australia. The paper aims to respond Wingate’s (2018) call for more thorough documentation of pedagogic principles applied in embedding practice to allow for replicability. This granular examination of the first implementation and later refinements of the initiative shows how aligning practice with proven theoretical models, in this case, Systemic Functional Linguistic (SFL) and the SFL-based pedagogic model, the Teaching/ Learning Cycle (TLC), proved fruitful in constrained circumstances.


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How to Cite

One step at a time: Aligning theory and practice in a tertiary embedding initiative. (2021). Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice, 18(6), 18-36.