31 SES 07 A, On Literacy
This paper discusses interactional conditions and possibilities in classrooms related to literacy education during the middle school years. The paper draws on an ongoing study, where interactional processes of learning through languages, literacies and texts, were followed closely during one year in two multilingual Swedish classrooms. Students as all citizens need to be able to sort, comprehend and critically review texts and their content, capacities, that all are stressed in the Swedish national curriculum (National Agency of Education, 2011). Our work is informed by understandings of literacy as social practice in the tradition of the New Literacy Studies (see for example Street, 2003). Literacy practices here embody multifaceted and pluralistic uses of literacies for different purposes, which include a wide range of texts and languages. These literacy practices are socially situated in student’s everyday lives, in and out of school. We conceptualize language and literacy learning as depending on comprehensible input as well as interaction and meaningful use of literacies and languages, where also more formal aspects of the latter have to be integrated (Cummins, 2001). This is not to suggest that there is not a cognitive element to how well students learn literacy, but we believe there is also a social element to learning literacy and to how students are constructed as literacy learners (see for example Heath, 1983; Heller, 2008). Here processes of interaction play a crucial role for the establishing of classroom literacy practices, which efficiently support all students’ literacy learning. We bring this conceptual framework to an analysis of classroom interaction, drawing on the above study, and more specifically three lessons from respectively two multilingual classrooms with twelve-year-old students. Each of the two units of lessons covers the interdisciplinary theme Law and Right and World Religions. Our aim is to draw key insights for how processes of interaction are organized to support literacy learning across the curriculum. We look for ways of organizing interaction in different situations and aspects of everyday classroom practices, such as; whole class teaching, collective group work led by teacher, collaborative and pupil led group work, one-to-one (teacher and pupil) and pupils working in pairs (see Alexander, 2008, p. 187). We ask:
- What repertoires of classroom interaction can be identified?
- Do different repertoires of classroom interaction interplay with each other and, if so, in what ways?
- What are the consequences considering the above questions for the participating students learning of reading and writing across the curriculum?
 The ongoing research project, which the above case studies are a part of, has got the title Understanding Curriculum Reforms – A Theory-oriented Evaluation of the Swedish Curriculum Reform Lgr 11. Scientific leaders are Ninni Wahlström, Professor in Pedagogy and Daniel Sundberg, Professor in Pedagogy, at Linnaeus University in Sweden. This research project, which is financed by the Swedish Research Council, got started in 2014 and will be finished in 2017. For more information see http://lnu.se/employee/ninni.wahlstrom?l=en
Alexander, Robin (2008). Essays on Pedagogy. London, New York: Routledge. Cummins, Jim (2001). Negotiating Identities: Education for Empowerment in a Diverse Society. Second Edition. Los Angeles: California Association for Bilingual Education. Hammersley & Atkinson, 1989 Heath, Brice Shirley (1983). Ways with words. Language, life and work in communities and classrooms. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Heller, Monica (2008): Bourdieu and literacy education. In James Albright, & Alan Luke, red: Pierre Bourdieu and literacy education, s. 50-67. New York: Routledge. National Agency for Education (2011). Curriculum for the compulsory school, preschool class and the leisure-time centre 2011. Stockholm: National Agency for Education. Street, Brian V. (2003). "What's "new" in New Literacy Studies? Critical approaches to literacy in theory and practice". Current issues in comparative education 5 (2): 77–91. Vesteraas Danbolt, Anne Marit & Iversen Kulbrandstad, Lise (2012). Teacher Reflections Under Changing Conditions for Literacy Learning in Multicultural Schools in Oslo. In Anne Pitkänen-Huhta & Lars Holm, ed: Literacy Practices in Transition. Perspectives from the Nordic Countries, p. 209-227. Bristol, NY, Ontario: Multilingual Matters.
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