Analysis, arguments and academic style: Promoting student inclusion and belonging through language use in teaching and learning.

  • Sam Thomas (Speaker)

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsWorkshopResearch


This session will consider the use of terminology and language in the context of supporting students with academic skills using threshold concepts as a framework (Meyer et al., 2010). Academics and practitioners are comfortable with both subject and ‘academic’ terminology, and as a result often use without reflecting on the impact or understanding of students. Some students may be comfortable with academic concepts and terminology on arrival at university, however for many it is a barrier not just to learning, but also to their inclusion and sense of belonging, and may therefore impact on retention (Thomas, 2012). Students at the University of Northampton come to us with a variety of backgrounds, needs and expectations, and as such will have varying experiences of academia and its conventions and norms. By developing an awareness of the context and the terminology used, University staff can ensure that the language they use is appropriate and can be understood by the student cohort.

During the session participants will have the opportunity to explore some of the academic concepts and terminology we use and the potential impact on student perception of inclusion. It will demonstrate how a threshold concepts approach can be used to analyse our understanding of academic skills and develop more inclusive learning resources and support. Being thoughtful about how we use and scaffold academic concepts across the University can encourage student development of skills and provide a basis for an inclusive approach to teaching and learning across all faculties and subject areas.
Period15 May 2018
Event titleUniversity of Northampton Learning and Teaching Conference: Removing Barrier to Inclusion
Event typeConference
LocationNorthampton, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionLocal


  • academic skills
  • learning development