Literacy Teaching and Learning: Aims, Approaches and Pedagogies

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  • The Aims of Literacy
    • This module explores the notion of "literacies" in the plural, and in particular the concept of "Multiliteracies" coined by the presenters in this course as part of the New London Group. Literacy in the singular consists of the rigid rules of official standard languages, and is purely grounded in written text. Literacies in the plural, or multiliteracies, acknowledges that language use will vary greatly from one cultural and social context to another, and that contemporary communication is increasingly multimodal, where written text is juxtaposed with, or supplemented by, image, sound, space, object, gesture, and speech. The module goes on to explore the evolution of human communication, and the patterns of communication in today's work, public, and community settings.
  • Theory and Practice of Literacies Learning and Teaching
    • In this module, we discuss the nature of pedagogy as the conscious design of learning activities. We introduce the idea of "knowledge processes" or activity types: experiential, conceptual, critical, and applied. In the case of literacies learning, experiential knowledge processes involve immersion in familiar and new texts. Conceptual knowledge processes include naming of the features of text, and developing theories of how these texts work to serve meaningful purposes. Analytical knowledge processes explore the contexts and purposes of texts. Applied knowledge processes engage learners in the creation of texts.
  • Didactic + Authentic Approaches to Literacy
    • This module begins with an overview of the range of activity types that might be found in literacies pedagogy. These are illustrated with some examples of literacies learning modules. It goes on to examine two major models of literacy pedagogy: didactic and authentic.
  • Functional + Critical Approaches to Literacy
    • Now we explore the remaining two of the four major traditions in literacy teaching and learning: functional and critical approaches to literacy. Our purpose in introducing these four major approaches has been to explore the strengths and weaknesses of each approach, as well as to advocate for the idea that literacy teaching and learning ideally involves a repertoire of different kinds of pedagogical moves or activity types.

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