Overview of Articles and Book Chapters
Ordinarily defined as being able to ‘read and write,’ the collection of articles and book chapters suggest that the true definition of literacy is much more complex (Santoro, 2004) and each author has their own ideas on how to successfully teach students to become literate, or in some cases, multiliterate.
The four resources model (code-breaker, text participant, text user and text analyst) (Santoro, 2004) used for the assessment of students appeared frequently throughout the chapters and articles as well as the four elements (situated practice, overt instruction, critical framing and transformed practice) (Kalantzis & Cope, 2000) and the five modes (visual, auditory, linguistic, gestural and spatial) (Mills, 2008). These were common themes in most articles and chapters which suggest that these approaches are critical to successful literacy education. Critical thinking (Green & Cochrane, 2003), metacognitive skills and comprehension strategies (Mills, 2008) were also frequent throughout the research process suggesting that they are key aspects of teaching literacy. Information communication technologies (ICTs) and digital literacies also appeared which leads to the assumption that they are an important feature, according to Yelland, Lee, O’Rouke and Harrison (2009) and Henderson (2008), in developing students’ literacy skills for the 21st century.
With these resources and strategies in place there needs to be a dynamic pedagogy to engage the students and authentic and real-world tasks for learning to become relevant to students’ lives. Anstey and Bull (2006) discuss the importance of a dynamic pedagogy whilst Yelland, Lee, O’Rouke and Harrison (2009) and Thwaite (2007) communicate the need for authentic tasks and real-world literacy.
With a dynamic pedagogy and authentic and real-world tasks at hand, teachers need to begin planning for diversity and the classroom discourse. Working with indigenous students may require more planning as read in Thwaite’s article (2007) and transforming a classroom discourse requires time and planning to be effective.
Multiliteracies, however, was the main theme across all articles and book chapters and transforming from the olden style of literacy to the new, which will require finding the “gaps” (Henderson, 2008) in a students’ learning using problem-based multiliteracies and strategies for practicing multiliteracies. (Stewart-Dore, 2003).
The collection of book chapters and articles will enable teachers to:
1) Learn important approaches to assessing and teaching literacy;
2) Implement digital literacies and ICTs;
3) Create a dynamic pedagogy, plan for diversity and transform their classroom discourse and
4) Learn the benefits of the multiliteracies pedagogies.
Each article and book chapter provides another step in the process of becoming a successful literacy teacher in the future. However, none of the authors identified the three approaches (traditional, progressivist and cultural/critical) but rather as changing from traditional literacy education to new.
Literacy, seen as one of the most important subjects at school “is they key to the rest of the curriculum” (Hannon, 1995, p. 5) and is used in everyday life. As learnt through reading the literature and engaging in the course, literacy plays a major role in developing students for the 21st century.
Hannon, P. (1995). Literacy, home, and school: research and practice in teaching literacy with parents. Great Britain: Falmer Press.
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Anstey, M., & Bull, G. (2006). Developing Pedagogies for Multiliteracies. Teaching and learning multiliteracies : changing times changing literacies (pp. 56-81). Newark: International Reading Association.
Anstey and Bull demonstrate the importance of a dynamic literacy pedagogy using the principles of a multiliteracies curriculum. When planning literacy tasks, the authors advise teachers to allow students to develop higher-order thinking, deep knowledge, flexibility and knowledge of combining and recombining resources for different contexts to help students develop from a literate to a multiliterate citizen. How a teacher’s pedagogy is culturally constructed is also discussed linking to social interactions in the classroom and explicit rather than implicit pedagogies.
Green, D., & Cochrane, C. (2003). Critical literacy : introducing critical literacy to a year 4 classroom. Practically Primary, 8(2), 9-11.
Green and Cochrane looked at an introduction to critical literacy strategies in a year four classroom in this article. The objective of the study was to develop students as critical thinkers by undertaking a unit of work on factual and narrative texts on creatures. Throughout the five week duration activities focusing on linguistic analysis, text clustering, visual choice and joint construction were completed and results showed students demonstrating “their new learning about critical literacy.” Students began to focus on the choices of the author rather than just what happened in the narrative.
Henderson, R. (2008). It's a digital life! Digital literacies, multiliteracies and multimodality. Literacy Learning : the Middle Years, 16(2), 11-15.
Henderson describes digital technologies as being the “norm” in literacy education. She discusses the connections that students can make between home and school through digital literacies and how this technology provides a way for students to learn roles and a foundation for literacy learning. Using digital technolgies, she argues, allows a way for students to learn a repertoire of literacy practices for use in the future. The author also suggests that schools need to adopt these technologies to develop students as multiliterate citizens.
Henderson, R. (2008). Mobilising multiliteracies : pedagogy for mobile students. In A. Healy (Ed.) Multiliteracies and diversity in education : new pedagogies for expanding landscapes (pp. 168-200) South Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press.
Henderson focuses on the multiliteracies approach as a way of overcoming “narrow literacy pedagogy.” The relationship between literacy learning and student mobility and developing an appropriate literacy curriculum for these students is also discussed. Students who change schools frequently are often stereotyped and identified as problematic but with the information on problem-based multiliteracies and learning activities present in this chapter, teachers may find the “gaps” in student knowledge and begin to unpack a student’s “virtual schoolbag.”
Kalantzis, M., & Cope, B. (Eds.) (2000). A multiliteracies pedagogy. Multiliteracies: literacy learning and the design of social futures literacy. (pp. 239-248). London: Routledge.
Kalantzis and Cope focus on the four elements (situated practice, overt instruction, critical framing, transformed practice) of multiliteracies pedagogy in this chapter. They communicate the idea that each element does not have to be the only element used and demonstrate how each can be used with each mode (linguistic, auditory, spatial, visual, gestural) in literacy education. The authors also communicate that each element can be used as a “supplement” rather than a “rigid learning sequence.” Four Australian case studies are included which provide examples on the use of all elements in education.
Mills, K. A. (2008). The seven habits of highly effective readers. Retrieved April 6, 2010, from http://www.englishliteracyconference.com.au/files/documents/026-Mills-Seven%20Habits.pdf
The aim of this text is to offer teachers ways to develop students as metacognitive thinkers by teaching them the art of comprehension. When students are taught how and when to use them, the seven thinking strategies listed and unpacked in the text become very useful in literacy. Mills also discusses how to develop critical literacy skills and draws on the modes (linguistic, visual, auditory, gestural, spatial) beneficial in learning literacy whether it be multimodal or print media. Resources including concept maps and Venn diagrams etc. are also provided for examples in literacy education.
Santoro, N. (2004). Using the four resources model across the curriculum. In A. Healy & E. Honan (Eds.), Text next : new resources for literacy learning (pp. 51-67). New South Wales: Primary English Teaching Association.
Santoro argues for the four resources model, a framework that can be used in any subject area. The model is portrayed as a way for teachers to improve their literacy teaching because as Santoro argues, literacy appears in every subject and in and out of the classroom. It is demonstrated through the use of a Studies of Society textbook and planned activities how the model can be utilized and how students can develop in each role.
Stewart-Dore, N. (2003). Strategies for practising multiliteracies. In G. Bull & M. Anstey (Eds.) The literacy lexicon (2nd ed.) (pp. 161-180). New South Wales: Prentice Hall.
Stewart-Dore’s chapter discusses becoming a strategic learner, how to practise multiliteracies and information on evaluating strategies. These strategies become “resources for learning” when students utilize them to construct and communicate new knowledge. Teaching and learning strategies and the Effective Reading In Content Areas (ERICA) framework are also discussed throughout the chapter and the updated version has four phases of development (accessing knowledge, interrogating meanings, selecting and organising information and representing knowledge). To develop students’ multiliteracies they then learn how to evaluate a strategy such as the ERICA framework.
Thwaite, A. (2007). Inclusive and empowering discourse in an early childhood literacy classroom with Indigenous students. Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 36, 21-31.
Marcia, an early childhood educator in Western Australia provided a basis for a case study in Thwaite’s article. The discourse Marcia used in her classroom for her mostly indigenous students portrayed an effective way to teach students to be literate. In comparison to a large majority of classrooms with indigenous students the discourse was inclusive, positive and empowering. Marcia related literacy to students’ lives, integrated Aboriginal English into direct speech, had good teacher-student relationships and scaffolded frequently. These strategies produced successful results on standardized literacy tests.
Yelland, N., Lee, L., O’Rouke, M., & Harrison, C. (2009) Rethinking pathways to print literacy: a multiliteracies perspective. Practically Primary, 14(1), 4-6.
This article discusses the value of rethinking literacy learning by transitioning from traditional to new through the implementation of new technologies and redesigning the curriculum. The authors argue that by using the multiliteracies theory, ICTs and the five design elements, students will become “knowledge builders” of the 21st century like one of their case studies, Alex. Yelland, Lee, O’Rouke and Harrison also suggest that planning authentic and engaging tasks will encourage students to develop essential skills for the future.