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Where are you wanting to go next in this course to build on the work now done? Thoughts, ideas, dreams --

alesnick's picture


Siobhan Hickey's picture

Interests to explore further

During this course I have become really interested in how literacy is defined, not just in a sense of what different people or bodies think it means, but in what they see as its primary goals and functions. Some (including myself) might say that these facets of literacy (it's meaning, it's goals) are closely connected, and I would like to continue exploring how these two aspects are similar or distinct from one another. As individuals in an education course, I would imagine that many of us are coming at the study of literacy from the perspective of wanting to understand how literacy can be achieved in an empowering way for individual students or groups of students. There is a whole other aspect of literacy goal-making, though, that is intrinsically tied to politics and economics. While we have certainly read about and discussed this in class, I would love to go further and explore these macro-motivations for literacy development (as a tool for economic improvement, as a building block of a nation-state) and how these goals either hinder or assist the progress that teachers and students work towards on a more individual/day-to-day basis. Also, how would the concept of literacy change without overarching social structures such as government or religious bodies? 

Sara712's picture

Moving Forward

I am interested in discussing the ways that literacy can be taught in a critical manner, similar to the concept that I brought up in class (meta-conversation, looking beyond the obvious, contextualizing material, learning about the author/origin of the material). I appreciated the quote in Rose that stated, "They liked books and ideas, and they liked to talk about them in ways that fostered growth rather than established dominance" (Rose 58). This explains the difference in learning between becoming enlightened and liberated rather than oppressed and stifled. Sometimes students and even teachers are unaware of the oppressive nature of their pedagogy, and it is important to critically examine one's curriculum/method. We touched on the issue of critically learning literacy in class, as we discussed the idea of making students more active in order to allow for their own creation/shaping of their individual educational path. Agency is crucial to an effective education. I also believe that actually seeing the different forms of literacy learning at play in videos/documentaries would help me conceptualize how to teach literacy critically. 

rschwartz's picture

I'd really like to

I'd really like to incorporate our experiences/ideas/questions/observations from fieldwork, in whatever way possible-- personally, I learn a lot more when I'm incorporating both theory and practice. In the past, my placement has given "real world" meaning to the concepts discussed in class. And I guess the reverse is true, too: the theoretical, intellectual stuff gives me a "lens," as we've said in class, through which to view and begin to understand the classroom experience. I think that remembering and talking about our placements will help us to progress towards the "how" question that lesaluna and ckeifer (am I allowed to use real names?) mention above. What's actually happening on the ground--how is literacy actually developed (or not developed) in the schools where we work? Plus, I really love hearing about other people's field placements. While I'm excited about the curriculum project, I'm not sure I feel prepared for it. I think I need to spend some class time talking about the "hows," before I feel ready to design an activity of my own.

emmagulley's picture

moving forward--

I so enjoyed hearing everyone's excerpts yesterday, and I just want to take a moment to say that I really did learn _so_ much while writing the literacy autobiography essay and while trying to create my own definition of literacy.  Moving forward, I want to first and foremost say that I'm confident I'll learn so much (and have many threshold concepts!) regardless of which project we do next in which order.  However, I personally am the most excited about connecting our abstract literacy questions/definitions to something more tangible and concrete.  It seems like it could work to do the curriculum project next... I think there's something intriguing about exploring and complicating the notion of literacy (done) and then going ahead and trying to pin it down and think about its intersection with practical, day-to-day programs, etc.While I have no doubts that the thrice told tale project would also be interesting and generative, it seems like after doing this definition project we might benefit from applying our abstract ideas to something more concrete?  I'm absolutely flexible though!

kdmccor's picture

I've been thinking a lot

I've been thinking a lot about how I might continue to explore literacy as an operative of power, and as a (potential) source of empowerment.  I'd like to look into how we can cultivate multiple and perhaps even conflicting types of literacy simultaneously.  I think about this in the tangible sense of learning and accommodating more than one language , but also in the more abstract sense of how navigating multiple languages influences the way we understand and connect certain concepts or relate to ideas expressed by other people.  I am eager to see and discuss how people navigate their multiple literacies in both theory and practice. 

On a totally unrelated note, I'm really enjoying Lives on the Boundary, so far!

Serendipitaz's picture

...and so the quest continues.

Seeing as that our the Literacy/Edu Comrades already have a strong sense of how they are defining literacy, I am really curious as to how the definitions fit into practice. We can all sit down and theorize what’s best, but the ideas do not exist until we do something about them. My favorite superhero, Batman, once said, "It's not who I am underneath, but what I *do* that defines me. " I don't believe I am because I think, I believe I am because I do. Thinking alone keeps the ideas in our heads, but we need to channel those definitions by putting them into classroom as well as the real life context. For example, what we think of literacy could be completely different in different settings. Thus, we could start analyzing our field placements in the context of our definitions of literacy. Instead of trying to fit everything into our definitions, we should leave them as working definitions that will be evolving with the placement advetures. I would be very interested in learning about how all of our definitions are co-evolving with the classrooms we are working in. Furthermore, the last paper topic was a very challenging one. Part of the reason to why I struggled was not receiving enough feedback after writing my paper. My main concern with the paper was if I was able to communicate my ideas properly, but I didn't know that because my peers didn't get a chance to see my draft. Perhaps, we can establish a deadline to have the paper in class, then go through a peer review process to strengthen our writing. I really like how this week we looked at excerpts of each other’s papers, but that didn’t help me in figuring out if my formatting helped convey my point.

pamela gassman's picture

Moving Forward

As of now I think we should move past what is literacy and explore instead, how/what are the best ways to achieve literacy. However, I am less interested in doing a project on curriculum,  because being a teacher is not my goal. Additionally, I don't know how beneficial creating a curriculum will be, because we will not have a real chance to implement it. I think we will still be able to explore the idea of literacy and the different ways one can achieve literacy through readings and letting the course organically unfold. I think Lives on the Boundry is a great book to explore these concepts with. 

ckeifer's picture

I think the next step is to

I think the next step is to focus on the "how" of literacy. I do not love the idea of doing a project where we create our own curriculum or activity that promotes literacy and this is probably stemming from the fact that I do not plan on becoming a teacher. I am really enjoying the book "Lives on the Boundary" and I think it creates a lot of opportunity to discuss the how of literacy.  If we continue with the current trajectory of the course I think that this discussion will come about naturally.

lesaluna12's picture

So what next?

I agree with the comment posted below, the next step I would like to take with this course is focusing on "what" to do and "how" to do it in terms of making literay affective. In class we discussed the structure and set of rules we were taught on writing when growing up and how it has impacted our definition of literacy. Literacy can be very complex to explain, especially to students in younger age groups. Drawing from my personal experience, I think it would be a great idea for educators to explain to their students why literacy is important and that once they master this one form of literacy, they will be ready to move on to the next form of literacy rather than teaching them one set of rules and expect them to follow it because technically one can't apply those same sets of rules to everything. For instance, writing a persuasive essay is different from a systhetic essay.

laik012's picture

Reflection and some thoughts

As for now, I think that it is time to go beyond seeking the definition of literacy. I suggest focusing on the question of "how" should we approach it and what is effective literacy. I thoroughly enjoyed the poem activity that was given to us during class last week and that activity certainly challenged the class regarding the difficulty of incorporating different ideas, culture and value into teaching. I remembered someone mentioning in class about connecting our field placements to our respectful definition of literacy, this is also a great idea! Persoanlly, I prefer activities such as creating our own curriculum/program that welcomes contructive criticism in order to assess the weakness and envisioning what could be improved or modified. In terms of the reading, I am genuinely enjoying the novel by Mike Rose and have also enjoyed the previous readings that were assigned. Being able to use concepts and terms learned in class and applying them in real life is very fascinating and inspiring!