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Critical classroom pedagogy: Student perspectives about how understandings of new literacy theories impact identity Kapri Bailey, Simone Gibson and Haleh Harris Community College of Baltimore County June 14, 2013
Foundation of New Literacy Theory • Seeks to empower students’ out-of-school literacy practices • Expands traditional and constrictive definitions of reading and writing • Every person is literate in some way • Literacy practices reflective of cultural affiliations • In school vs. out of school literacy practices
New Literacy Broken Down:Discourse, Culture and Literacy • Discourse: how we behave in a particular context (Gee 2009) • includes how we speak and interact with others • Culture: “How we do things around here.” (Irvine 2007) • Literacy: communicating as a means of existing within a particular culture • Mainstream Literacy: control of dominant discourse • Non Mainstream Literacy: control of a non-dominant discourse
Significance of NLT • Empowering students with cultural capitol (Bourdieu 1988) • “The point of my work is to show that culture and education aren’t simply minor influences.” • Helps to enhance students identities as learners (Steele 2011) while at school • Student navigate through and exist within a multitude of communities, and their reflective literacies, including our classrooms
Recommendation for Instructors • Adapt to students literacy strengths and incorporate into the classroom • Pinterestas a way of visually showing your thoughts • Animoto a creative approach to understanding a text • Tweeting a first response to a reading passage • Learn about students non-mainstream literacy exposures to make connections to mainstream literacies • Mainstream media outlets • Places of interest • Non mainstream reading habits (ex: blogging, urban fiction, etc.) • Avoid making judgments about students literacy strengths and non mainstream cultures • Deficit orientation
Student Reactions • “At first I thought we were buying into the stereotypes. I didn’t know what our Professor was doing. She told us to trust her, and I’m glad I did. Now I have my own opinions about stereotypes that are made about people living in poverty.” • “I am considered poor by our society. Studying this made me realize that I don’t want to be labeled or stereotyped.” • “I was surprised to see my white professor teach topics that are so real. I never expected such real conversation from a white professor – I’ve never had any of my white teachers try to connect with my life.”
Specific Application of NLT: Financial Literacy • Newspaper articles and videos about people living in poverty • Media Images of the Poor • analyze a primary source regarding the topic • The de Bono Group’s Six Thinking Hats model • Each of the six levels asks students to analyze various elements of the article in a critical way • “Educating People About the Underserved: Note-Taking” handout • Students concluded the lesson by writing an essay that discusses whether or not one term is a more “appropriate” definition for people living in poverty over another term (ie. poor vs. underserved)
The Benefits of Financial Literacy Lesson & It’s Connection to NLT • Making personal connections with students • Ex: formative assessments • Ex: students selected topics to be studied in class • Avoiding judgments of students • Stereotypes within Social Class • Where students fit within social hierarchy • Impact of assumptions/stereotypes • Underserved vs. impoverished • About judging people • Judgments have an impact on people
How Unit Exemplifies NLS • Empowering students • Making connections with students • Validating student cultures; no assumptions • Assumptions impact student learning (stereotype threat) • Students learning to be more critical • Valuing students’ opinions and experiences • Connecting with students and mentoring instead of judging • Tapping into literacy practices reflective of communities of students
Student Thoughts about NLS “It is important to learn know about literacy theory becuse , there are many types of people in the world that share diffent culture. Every person today should want to learn about people culture. I think we all would know more about what going on around us in the world. Literacy might be helpful to us becuse we might connect to each other more and understand other point of views.” “Many cultures communicate differently and we need understand how they communicate.” “…you know that there is many different types of literacy so you know that you are not illiterate. I believe it is helpful because now we know there is other ways of being literate. Also maybe if you thought you were illiterate such as being on the street you now know its literate cause thats something you know that maybe other people didn't know.”