Holistic Learning, First-Person Voice and Developing Academic Competence
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Dr. Roger Nunn
The Petroleum Institute, Abu Dhabi
Dr. Roger Nunn is a Professor in the Communication Department at the Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Most of his career has been spent lecturing and teaching in Asian countries. He is currently Chief Editor of the Asian ESP Journal and is a founding member of English Scholars Beyond Borders. He is interested in holistic approaches to learning and has published and presented widely in a broad range of areas.
In this paper I examine research reports written by students to establish a connection between a systemic approach to language choice in context and a holistic and constructivist philosophy of learning (operationalized through project-based learning). My interpretation of some recent (2011/2012/2013) results of a transitivity analysis of students’ project reports indicate that the holistic course design involving creative research activities may have an important influence on the range of transitivity choices made by competent students. The frequency and quality of the use of a first- person voice in the text analysis results appear to be related to students’ empowerment as active agents in their own learning process. I will argue that the first-person is often an appropriate choice by interpreting data from reports in which students frequently and naturally chose the first-person and from a report in which students were encouraged to avoid it.