keynote speakers



University of Sydney, Australia

Dr David Rose is Director of Reading to Learn, an international literacy program that trains teachers across school and university sectors, in Australia, Africa, Asia, North and South America and western Europe ( He is an Honorary Associate of the University of Sydney. His work has been particularly concerned with Indigenous Australian communities, languages and education programs, with whom he has worked for over 30 years. His research includes literacy teaching practices and teacher professional learning, analysis and design of classroom discourse, together with language typology, language evolution and social semiotic theory. His books include The Western Desert Code: an Australian cryptogrammar. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics, 2001, and with J.R. Martin, Working with Discourse (Continuum, 2007), Genre Relations (Equinox, 2008) and Learning to Write, Reading to Learn: genre, knowledge and pedagogy in the Sydney School, (Equinox, 2012).

A central device of social control in the colonial era was a three-tiered education system, which provided different levels of access to the power of scholarship for the wealthy few, the administrative classes, and the working people. This arrangement did not end with decolonisation and democratisation of political systems in former colonies, such as South Africa and Australia. Inequality is now maintained by a set of educational practices that provide access to scholarship for students from some social backgrounds but simultaneously deny access to others. These practices extend from the beginning of school, through primary and secondary years, to university study. In all these learning stages, the primary modality of access to scholarship is through reading, yet few teachers at any level are trained to teach reading. Where reading is explicitly taught, in early primary and remedial programs, its focus is often on the mechanics of decoding written letters, words and sentences, so that access to elaborated meanings and skills in learning from reading are restricted to students from already literate backgrounds. If we are serious about decolonising education, then it is imperative to demolish its three-tiered pedagogic structures, by explicitly teaching all our students how to learn from reading. Two practical implications are that teachers at all levels must learn how to teach reading, and how to teach through reading. As long as reading is divorced from teaching practice, our students will continue to struggle, unless we can commit to embedding reading in our practice. This paper will offer some proven strategies that teachers can use to provide access to all their students to skills in learning from reading, at the same time as providing access to the knowledge of the curriculum. It will also offer pathways for developing academic research programs focused on these practices.

Rose, D. (2017). Embedding literacy skills in academic teaching. In Rolls, N., E. Chambers & A. Northedge Teaching at University in Times of Diversity: Higher Education pedagogy and practice. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 202-224.

Rose, D., Rose, M., Farrington, S. & Page, S. (2008). Scaffolding Literacy for Indigenous Health Sciences Students. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 7 (3), 166-180.

Prof. Thengamehlo Harold Ngwenya

Durban University of Technology, Durban

Thengani Harold Ngwenya is an Associate Professor and Director of the Centre for Excellence in learning and Teaching (CELT) at DUT. He has been involved in higher education as a lecturer, researcher and manager for over thirty years. His first appointment was as a Junior Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Natal (Durban Campus) in 1989. He subsequently taught English Literature at Vista University (Soweto Campus) and at the Durban-Westville University. He is an established literary scholar and, in addition to journal publications, has contributed to the Encyclopedia of Life Writing : Autobiographical and Biographical Forms (2001); the Encyclopedia of African Literature (2003) and the Cambridge History of South African Literature (2012). Ngwenya’s most recent publication is a case study of academic development at DUT published in a book titled Transformation of Higher Education Institutions in Post-Apartheid South Africa (2019).



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