How do we frame “Literacies in New Times?”
I always believed that in order to effectively teach literacy teachers would need to use more than one approach, tool or program. This week my belief became stronger than ever! After listening to my classmates’ video-presentations and after reading all of the required articles for this week, I can say for sure that we need to have some type of balance when teaching literacy and never rely solely on one specific method or approach. In his publication on Literacy, Luke (1990) states on pages 7 and 8 that:
“…But rather that each of these general families of approaches displays and emphasises particular forms of literacy, such that no single one will, of itself, fully enable students to use texts effectively, in their own individual and collective interests, across a range of discourses, texts and tasks.”
Other important piece that needs to be considered when teaching literacy is the cultural aspect that students bring with them to the classroom. I loved what Green (2012) says in his book about the significance that culture ‘brings to the table’ when producing meanings to the subjects we teach. On page 6, he argues that: “Subject-area learning is cultural learning; in learning the subject, one is also learning the culture.” In countries like Canada, USA, and Australia where the influx of immigrants is very high, attending to the cultural differences of students is something that we should expect to see as a norm. Isn’t it? I wonder if that is a common idea amongst educators…(?)
The four approaches to literacy education summarized by Ludwig (2003) were something very thought provoking. Even though these ideas do not sound like new concepts, it was certainly a great reminder of the approaches we will face when teaching Literacy, such as the skills, the personal growth, the cultural heritage, and the critical-cultural approaches.
What I found very interesting were the “frameworks” for learning and teaching literacy that would support the four approaches listed above. Ludwig (2003) presents them in her article: - Four Literacy Resources developed by Peter Freebody and Allan Luke (1990) and - Three Literacy Dimensions developed by Bill Green (1988). I believe that we have used similar taxonomy in our Canadian schools, perhaps in different levels. I like the idea of looking at literacy in a more “holistic” way, as Green (1988) suggests. If we are able to put together the language aspect of literacy with its operational systems, taking in consideration the cultural pieces, we could certainly take students’ learning to a more advanced critical level.
When people think about literacy or what means to be literate, many times individuals would think only about the mechanical act of reading and writing. However, as educators, we know that being literate has a much more significant meaning, which would translates to: - being able to use our critical thinking, comprehension and solving skills when faced with any difficulty in school and in life. I believe that this is my own definition of literacy!
Dyson, A. (2013). Rewriting the Basics – Literacy Learning in Children’s Cultures. New York: Teachers College Press.
Freebody, Peter & Luke, Allan (1990). Literacies programs: Debates and demands in cultural context. Prospect: An Australian Journal of TESOL, 5(3), pp. 7-16. Retrieved from: http://eprints.qut.edu.au/49099/
Green, B. (2012). Subject- Specific Literacy and School Learning: A Revised Account. In B. green and C. Beavis (Eds) Literacy in 3D: An Integrated in Theory and Practice.
Camnerwell, VIC: ACER.
Ludwig, C. (2003). Making Sense of Literacy. In Newsletter of the Australian Literacy Educators' Association.
Luke, A. & Freebody P. (1999). Further Notes on the Four Resources Model. In: Reading Online - Research: Four Resources Model. Retrieved from: http://www.readingonline.org/research/lukefreebody.html