Sunday, February 26, 2017

Capstone Exercise... The End is Near :)

Hello everyone,

As I work on my Capstone Exercise, I get that feeling of accomplishment, but at the same time I feel a little nostalgic...

I made so many good friendships throughout this M.Ed. Program and I will miss them! I will miss the discussions, our E-classes, our Adobe conversations... I am not going to miss the assignments though...LOL.

Working on my Capstone Project is making me reflect over these 2,5 years of studies and engagement through U of A. It is interesting to see how much I changed over this period of time... and I am not only talking about the weight I have gained...LOL. No, I am talking about how much I have learned and how much of this learning I have put in to my daily teaching practice.

I am sure that my students appreciated all the new adventures that we had together... My grade 2 classes from 2015-2016 and from 2016-2017' school years were my mini lab, where I tested all the language research that I was working on.

Just to name a few projects we have worked on:

- Teachers' ethnography;
- Circle of Courage;
- Translanguaging;
- Transliteracy;
- Blogging;
- Language Acquisition;
- Second Language Learning;
- Neuro-Linguistic Approach, and so many other aspects of learning in the Elementary School setting.

I feel that I finished this journey, I have accomplished my goals and I am ready to fly... 
I am ready to take on a new challenge, a new adventure, a new learning opportunity and so much more.

I thank all the people who was part of this journey with me, direct or indirectly, you helped shape who I am today as a teacher and as a person and for that I am thankful!

I will post my Capstone Exercise on this Blog soon... Stay tuned :)
As soon as it is graded, I will make it public, so I can share my learning experience in a Graduate Program with all of you!

Thank you/Gracias,

Claudia Sasse 

      Adios :)

Monday, February 20, 2017

How do we frame “Literacies in New Times?”


                 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!

References:

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