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Bizzell (1986) Suggests That Students Face Particular Clashes When Beginning Higher Education. Explain and Critically Discuss These Clashes Using Tlc120 Sources.

In: English and Literature

Submitted By ahudson83
Words 1158
Pages 5
When beginning Higher Education, students at University face some unique clashes. According to Bizzell (1986) those three clashes are Clashes of Dialect, Clashes of Discourse and Clashes of worldwide views. For new students who have never encountered University life before, it is said to be a completely different environment, one which can be very intimidating. Students find themselves out of their comfort zone and facing new challenges which can be very overwhelming. Angela Thomas-Jones (2012) stated “beginning your own studies at university requires a culture adjustment in order to succeed. It is a new culture that needs to be given time to adapt to. Becoming familiar with the knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, values and practices of the university culture is the key to successful acculturation”. Some of the reasons why these clashes may have meaning to many students is due to the pressure individual students put on themselves to achieve good grades, be successful and be accepted amongst peers. Throughout my essay I will discuss in detail each of the three clashes outlined by Bizzell (1986).
The first clash mentioned by Bizzell (1986) was the Clash of Dialect. This refers to the language being used by students within the university community. The basic writers are those students who experience the greatest distance between their home dialects and Standard English, the preferred dialect in school (Bizzell 1986). The dialect within university is something that students need to adapt and adjust to. Stephen Ranking (2012) suggested that “communicating successfully at university involves understanding, learning and using the appropriate language, thinking and behaviour of the university culture and its disciplinary subcultures.” Being a first year student and relating my own experiences to the dialect being used in University, I have found it extremely challenging to grasp certain ideas associated with the dialect required to be used at times. Language isn’t only important when talking but, also when writing and at times, it can feel like you are learning a complete new form of English, when writing in the language/dialect expected of you at University.
A second problem often encountered when entering Higher Education is, the Clash of Discourse. Discourse refers to the speech, writing patterns, usage of language and acceptable statements, within a community (Stephen Rankin, 2012). As students we are expected to write essays for most subjects offered at University. To develop an essay into an acceptable piece of writing can be hard if the student is unfamiliar with such a task. Priest (2007), states that teaching university students to write essays can be difficult and that the genre is foreign to many of them. She claims students see writing as just another requirement forced upon them with no use in the real world, and that writing involves thinking, exploring and discovering. With this in mind, writing should be enjoyable as well as stimulating to a new student. Personally, I have faced a Clash of Discourse in most areas of University. It is a daily challenge to learn and implement the “correct and improved” way to complete University assignments. I believe the skills to writing well can only be gained by trial and error. As a student, a sense of achievement is earned by learning this new writing skill and only encourages me to strive for better results with each assignment I complete. Feedback, whether positive or negative can dramatically help improve the skills required to write efficiently. Not only does the university require us to adapt to spoken language but also to different ways of thinking.
The last Clash is that of World View. Bizzell (1986) writes that in order for students to participate in the academic community (university) they are required to learn a new dialect, new discourse conventions and this will lead them into a whole new World View. Hobson (1996) believes that World View is the main conceptual framework where our beliefs, values and attitudes about ourselves and others lay. This clash is rather complex as it has to take into account a student’s home world views that they bring with them to University, cultural background, race and even their economic status. Acquiring the academic world view means becoming bicultural (Bizzell 1986). At first, I believed my own personal home worlds views, had very little impact on my Higher Education world view and the two views didn’t really need to have any relevance to one another. However, my thoughts have now changed as I realize that my home world views have set the foundations for my academic work views to be built upon. Knowledge is something we each construct for ourselves. It remains ours forever and is an intrinsic part of who we are (Andresen 1994).
Students at University come from a variety of diverse backgrounds so the importance applied to the socio cultural nature of learning and teaching has never been so important or relevant (Northedge 2003). Throughout my essay I have argued that when beginning higher education, students face major changes and challenges that can alter and affect the way in which they may express their thoughts and ideas. Students have the right to express their own opinions, this allows for growth as individuals. No one person is right or wrong when allowed to creatively express their thoughts and ideas. Many researchers talk about the word culture and it appears to play a major part of the whole Higher Education theme. We all need to be aware of the cultural differences that exist and how the clashes can be affected by these differences and beliefs. The three main clashes that can have a major influence on a student include: Clashes of Dialect, Clashes of Discourse and Clashes of Worldviews. I have clearly shown that these three clashes are very common to any new student starting University for the first time. As they progress through an unknown and innovative culture adjustment, they can expect to face a great deal of anticipation and in some cases anxiety but, they need to remember they are not alone and that these feelings are quite common to most new students entering the community of Higher Education.


Andresen, Lee. 1994. “Five Fatal Fallacies about Studying at University.” HERDSA News 16 (2): 3-7

Bizzell, Patricia. 1986. “What Happens When Basic Writers Come to College?” College Composition and Communication 37 (3): 294-301.

Hobson, Julia. 1996. “Concepts of the Self: Different Ways of Knowing about the self.” SKK12 lecture transcript. Reprinted in TL120: Introduction to University Learning: Reader and Learning Guide 2011. Murdoch: Murdoch University.

Northedge, Andrew. 2003. “Rethinking Teaching in the Context of Diversity.” Teaching in Higher Education. 8 (1): 17-32. Doi: 10.1080/1356251032000052302

Priest, Ann-Marie. 2007. “Expression of the Interesting.” The Australian, October 10. Factiva.

Rankin, Stephan. 2011. Communicating at University.TLC 120: Introduction to University Learning. Lecture. Perth, WA: Murdoch University, 30th March.

Thomas-Jones, Angela. 2011. University Culture.TLC 120: Introduction to University Learning. Lecture. Perth, WA: Murdoch University, 16th March.

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