Literacies for Learning

Topics: Education, Teacher, Social relation Pages: 11 (2600 words) Published: April 30, 2014

Assessment Item 2
Theory of multiliteracies pedagogy.
Joseph Cefai
Student No 11473840
Subject: EEL441
Charles Sturt University
Word Count: 2195
Date Due: 04 June, 2012

The necessity for educational institutions to equip students with the skills to cope in a rapidly changing, culturally diverse and globalised 21st century society, has led academics, such as the New London Group, to encourage educators to acknowledge the various literacy forms utilised in the new millennium (The New London Group, 1996) and to adopt a pedagogy of multiliteracies. This essay will explore the components of a pedagogy of multiliteracies and identify the transformations needed for the successful implementation of multiliteracies into educational practice. Likewise, the notion of language as a social practice which influences teaching content and assessment practices in secondary education will be examined, as will the use of multiliteracies in the teaching of the Mathematics curriculum. To understand the role of multiliteracies in pedagogy theory development, it is important to define the term literacy. Literacy is an evolving term that refers to an individual’s ability to construct and comprehend meaning via the accepted symbol systems of one’s country or language group (Winch, Johnston, March, Ljungdahl, Holliday, 2010). These symbol systems include written and spoken language and visual information such as icons and other graphical information. While literacy was traditionally viewed as a cognitive process with a focus on reading, writing and numeracy identification, in recent years its definition has become broadened to encompass the burgeoning text types being generated via multimedia and information technology (Winch et al., 2010). These electronic text types have quickly established themselves as integral components of a diverse range of 21st century vocations and social interactions (Tan, 2006). A pedagogy of multiliteracies encompasses multimedia and digital text forms as well as traditional written and spoken texts. Likewise, the central role of literacy in a diverse range of knowledge domains and vocations has resulted in educators being encouraged to view literacy as a vital skill underpinning successful teaching and learning in all curriculum areas. The New London Group (1996) viewed the role of design as an ever changing paradigm of three stage teaching and learning processes. The first step, ‘Available Designs’ is determining what resources are available. These resources include texts, symbols, audio and visual resources. The second step is ‘Designing’ which takes these ‘Available Designs’ and places them within a social context, such as the classroom or learning environment, and is facilitated by an individual such as a teacher. This step creates an output with new meaning for both the learning environment and facilitator. This knowledge or new meaning is known as ‘Redesign’ (The New London Group, 1996).

Literacy is a social practice that is not just taught in secondary schools, it is something which is part of each individual’s everyday life. According to Anstey & Bull (2000), the way in which an individual may read the world will be strongly linked to the contexts of their own life. The NSW Department of Education and Training (2006) maintains that literacy is a skill that continues to grow and develop and is fundamental to students’ success at school as well as for the rest of their life. For literacy to be successful in schools, it is planned in collaboration with parents and teachers. This collaborative approach reinforces that literacy is inherently a social practice. This approach must include a range of social influences and practices, in order to increase student’s knowledge and skill in the real world for real purposes (NSW Department of Education and Training, 2006). As literacy development is undoubtedly a whole school and community approach, it is...
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