Thursday, July 12, 2007
Reading Joanne Larson has prompted some thinking about literacies as critical practice (as opposed to critical literacy). I thought the work of our group illustrated ways of moving beyond the highly regulated routines and normalizing discourses of state policy on literacy that have become all too prevalent. Using literacies as critical practice has involved teachers in creatively and collaboratively envisaging something more ambitious than the atomized experiences of contemporary schooling. Giving children voice and agency in matters that are significant in their lives troubles the narrow view of literacy often associated with passive and immersive book reading and provides pupils with the possibility of new ways of thinking about themselves and their world. The projects we have been involved in here have shared four common themes. Firstly they have been created in a context that is relevant to pupils by focusing on aspects of their environment and how they are portrayed and positioned in it. Secondly, they have been engaged in a variety of kinds of guided investigation in which some of these issues of representation have been explored, discussed and deconstructed. Thirdly, they have provided pupils with the tools and technologies to experiment with alternative representations and counter-narratives. And finally, they have involved pupils in multimodal production and publication in ways that have embodied some sort of transformation. This is important work that is neither ‘literacy as tool’; ‘literacy as place’ and probably not ‘literacy as a way of being’ but certainly is literacy as a meaningful practice.