27 SES 14 B, Literacy and Didactics: Perspectives, Practices and Consequences II
The purpose of this symposium is to report on a three years work within a network – Network for research on literacy practices. The network assembly researchers from different disciplines, countries (Sweden, Norway and South Africa) and research traditions in order to shed light on the complexities in the teaching and learning of literacy within different subjects and different subcultures. An important part of the activities within the network has been workshops and seminars with invited international scholars in the research field of literacy.
In accordance with a view on learning as a communicative process connected to specific language games/discourse–practices the term literacy goes beyond the classical definition as being competent to read and write within a specific content area: literacy concerns also the ability to participate in a activity characterized by specific actions, habits and values. Moreover, literacy is a concern for all ages. The work within the network is guided by a conviction that it is through studying practices that crucial knowledge about teaching and learning of literacy can be gained. Taken together the focus of the network can be described as functional and critical literacy. An important focus for the studies has been to clarify and problematize literacy through comparisons between for example: i) on the one hand the expectations within national standards, syllabuses, tests, etc. and on the other hand research results from different areas and disciplines ii) the actual practices within education and the life outside the classroom (at working place, within youth cultures, as citizen and consumer, etc.) iii) subjects iv) modalities.
In this part (Part II) of the symposium the contributors do deliver reminders regarding how to understand and approach literacy as a didactical issue through studies of formal and informal practices. Through interviews and comparisons of university lecturers from Sweden and South Africa in a single discipline (physics) this paper (paper 1) illustrates an approach for how to understand disciplinary literacy, namely as a unique combination of six separate ‘literacies’. Also focusing on physics in higher education, paper 2 highlights – through identifying similarities and differences in learning depending on students choice of semiotic resources – the importance for students to know which semiotic resources are appropriate for a particular problem in order to become scientific literate. In paper 3 two boys and two girls are followed during a week in and outside school. Through comparisons of actions made when they use computers in school and at home it is possible to show that media literacy is distributed and that being media literate means being multiliterate. Through comparing the ways unaccompanied refugee boys uses language in different situations over time, paper 4 illuminate that literacy is woven into different modes of interaction and are important for the construction and re-construction of identity in non-formal as well as within formal educational practices. The last paper compares results from traditionally segregated academic fields dealing with literacy and comes to the conclusion that the meaning making process has primacy over modalities, identities and formal linguistic variations.
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