Rethinking the Teaching of Academic Literacy in the Context o ...

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This article explores the concept of decolonization and its implications for the teaching of academic literacy in the Unit for Academic Literacy at a South African university. It draws on existing literature on decolonizing knowledge in Africa and different curriculum models as well as on teaching and assessment practices in the Unit for Academic Literacy to provide a conceptual discussion on possibilities to rethink the teaching of academic literacy. The article acknowledges that the Unit for Academic Literacy has attempted to incorporate principles of curriculum transformation in the contents of its courses, teaching, and assessment practices, but these attempts are still not adequate. This article therefore argues that since the demographics of South African universities continue to shift rapidly toward a black majority, the design, teaching, and assessment of academic literacy should be more responsive to the epistemic injustice in South African higher education. To do this, the article proposes that the Unit for Academic Literacy should open up more space for epistemic plurality, which allows for the representation of African ways of being, knowing and doing embodied in its growing population of African students.