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They also address fundamental questions about the relationship between language, literacy and power in multi-ethnic contexts. Literacy events and literacy practices: theory and practice in the New Literacy Studies. Work or play? Learning to read and write at home: the experience of Chinese families in Britain. Language and literacy practices in Gujarati Muslim families. Children writing in a multilingual nursery. Enterprising women: Multilingual literacies in the construction of new identities.

Writing switching in British Creole. Mediators and mediation in multilingual literacy events. Texts, mediation and social relations in a bureaucratised world. Languages and literacies for autonomy. Gender, literacy and community publishing in a multilingual context. Taking account of history and culture in community-based research on multilingual literacy.

Learning outcomes

Photography in collaborative research on multilingual literacy practices: images and understandings of researcher and researched. Constructing a critical, dialogic approach to research on multilingual literacy: participant diaries and diary interviews. Multilingual literacies, literacy practices, and the continua of biliteracy. This volume succeeds not only in making a theoretical advance by bringing multilingualism and literacy together but also in opening up a new possibility for diverse ways of researching multilingual literacies. The power of this book lies not only in its rich and detailed accounts of multilingual literacies, but also in its vision for empowering individuals and for building an equitable society by 'subverting asymetrical relations and social inequities in our world s ' p.

As such it should prove very valuable for researchers in this area, as well as enlightening for teachers, students and policy makers. Her paper is a good example of empirically grounded critical writings on the relationship between the micro and macro level, which is echoed to a large extent in the different levels of practice: the micro-level detail of what goes on, and the macro level of generalisations or theorisations about how and why this happens. The beginning of this section suggested that the shift towards post-structuralist ideas within the field of language studies, as well as more generally within the social sciences, has opened up new opportunities for examining and understanding some of the complex relationships between discourse and identity , or, subjectivity , and the importance of these to teaching and learning.

This shift has involved the development of a new conceptual apparatus for analysing social processes and the role of language within these. The differences and similarities between the notions of discourse community and community of practice were discussed. Theorists and researchers have found Bakhtinian ideas, for instance the concepts of voice and heteroglossia and a dialogical model of communication, particularly useful in moving towards a more process-orientated framework for analysing communication and identity.

In addition to reversioning specific voices, students use the vocabulary and discursive structures of particular discourses, aligning themselves with particular ideological positions as well as producing written assignments.

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Language, ethnic and other social differences can still, however, create powerful barriers for individual students, and relationships of inequality and exclusion are deeply embedded in institutional practices and social values, as shown in the research by Norton and Ramanathan. We concluded this section by focusing on ways of researching and analysing the relationship between language use, or discourse, and identity.

In particular, we focused on the way in which the notion of practice can be researched and theorised. This is an activity in creating a proposal for a practical investigation of an aspect of language or literacy which particularly interests you, related to an issue or issues in this unit. Please note that you will only be preparing a proposal; this will not lead on to a full-scale project. Your project proposal is an opportunity for you to set out a plan for a small scale piece of research on an area you might like to explore further. A small-scale research project provides an opportunity for you to explore and reflect on one or more issues in this unit, to relate them to educational or wider concerns in your own context and to give you experience of and insights into the realities of conducting research into language and literacy.

Whatever topic you choose to examine, and whatever approach you adopt, it will be essential to locate your project work in the context of your study of the unit material. As you review the material, consider which aspects of it have most relevance to you and your interests. Consider also how you could investigate a particular topic: you should choose a topic that links the content of the unit to your own professional circumstances or personal interests.

You will need to narrow down from a number of potentially interesting topics to one that is manageable. You can choose a topic from any section of this unit, including section 4.

Below are a few general suggestions to give you a sense of the scope you should aim for. Resist the temptation to be over-ambitious: this is a proposal only, not a full-scale project. Clearly, these topics differ in many respects — in the amount and kind of fieldwork they demand as opposed to their reliance on documentation, for example, as well as in the parts of the unit from which ideas and concepts are drawn. They are expressed here in deliberately general terms, so that you may consider ways in which the idea can be adapted to your own interests and circumstances.

Please note: It is not acceptable to use existing data that you may have collected for another purpose for an MA course or for professional purposes, for example. You must propose to collect new data, that is, data collected specifically for the purposes of this investigative project. This should be a concise description of your proposed project, such as in the examples above, and convey how it would be well supported by a range of material from the unit. Here you will need to set out clearly what you wish to find out through your project work.

Project aims are often more effectively expressed in the form of one or more specific investigative questions. When such questions are posed in a suitably clear way, they will help you to reach an understanding of the purpose of your project, and help you to evaluate your project when it is completed. These questions need not be formal hypotheses which you aim to prove or disprove: they may just as easily be expressed in exploratory or open-ended terms.

For example, project aims might be expressed as:. Here you should discuss the significance of the project you are proposing, and your reasons for choosing it. One way to approach this would be to answer such questions as:. Identify the main conceptual strands running through the unit which relate to your topic. This section should be brief, but the information you provide here will enable your tutor to understand the context of your investigation.

You should give careful thought to the kinds of evidence which will help you to answer your research questions, but at the same time are feasible to collect in the time available and in the settings to which you will have access. Generally speaking, the evidence base for your project will be stronger if you combine two or three different methods of collecting data. This will also provide several perspectives on the same phenomenon.

In a project on community literacy practices, it would be advisable to collect examples of the texts produced by the writers, and perhaps also to discuss the writing with them. You should design your project in a way which matches your aims. If your project is closer to the first end of this continuum, you should ensure that you collect evidence which is sufficiently detailed and varied to enable you to document the richness of the small number of individual cases.


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If your project is closer to the latter end of the continuum, you will need to bring a sufficiently robust analysis to bear upon the small number of questions being asked of your evidence. Language and literacy in a changing world is not a unit on research methodology, and you will not be expected to construct a sophisticated research design or to justify your methods in the light of the literature on research methodology. However, it does have an emphasis on learning a range of tools for practical analysis of language and texts, and understanding the rationale for different approaches to analysis, and you should be able to explain why the methods you chose to use matched the aims of your project.

In other words, why did you feel that the methods you chose would help you to find out what you were attempting to find out? The notes that follow outline some of the main methods you may consider using if you were preparing for a full-scale assignment. You should also at this stage examine those readings in the unit material which refer to or use the method or methods which you are contemplating adopting. Interviews: These can vary from a highly structured format to an open conversation covering a list of topics.

Try out at least two pilot interviews if you possibly can, and record them if possible. Listening to the recordings should help you decide if questions need to be reworded, or if you are doing too much talking yourself. Recording relieves you from having to take notes during the interview and often throws up interesting information which might otherwise be missed. Audio recordings can also be an effective way to supplement your other means of data collection.

Even if you do not transcribe any part of your recordings, they provide an additional perspective which brings its own particular insights on any observation or interview work you have done. If audio recording is not possible, then decide beforehand on the best way of making notes. When interviewing, it is usually much more productive to relate your questions to specific people, events or practices than to ask generalised questions. Questionnaires: Like interviews, these range from the highly structured to those with more open-ended questions.

The questionnaire may be completed in your presence as part of an interview, or in your absence. When constructing your questionnaire think about how you intend to analyse the results you obtain. If you are hoping to make some quantitative statements then the questions cannot be open-ended.

You will need to consider the reply options that you provide, so that people can, for example, tick a box or circle an answer. Observation: A variety of methods can be used to observe and analyse interaction, for example taking detailed notes of observed events, or making transcriptions of recorded events in classrooms. If you are using audio or video recordings in a classroom there are certain things you need to consider. The sound quality is likely to be important if you want to reflect on the language being used.

How you set up your audio or video equipment to make recordings is going to be affected by who it is that you wish to hear or see most clearly. If you are interested in student—student interaction in groups, for example, you may need to use a number of cassette recorders placed with each individual group. You are strongly advised to pilot your recording techniques. By this we mean that you should try out your data collecting methods in a classroom situation and see if they work.

After making a recording, watch or listen to it carefully. Can you hear and see everything you need to? If not, can you position your equipment differently to improve things or do you need to modify your data requirements? You should include some reflection on ethical issues, and indicate ways in which you will respect the privacy of individuals and the confidentiality of data relating to them. You should also consider, if necessary, whether you will need to inform parents about your project or seek their permission to involve their children in the work.

You might also like to consider what purposes your findings could be put to. If you work in a school, for example, is it expecting some kind of outcome which can be used to direct policy? You should give a clear account and some justification of the ways in which you will relate your evidence to your aims and initial questions. In some cases the most useful conceptual frameworks for analysing evidence will emerge after the evidence has been collected and initially examined. However, even at this relatively early stage you should begin to consider the kinds of frameworks you might devise to categorise your evidence, and the kinds of themes and issues which you might adopt as organizing principles for your analysis.

You should include here any practical difficulties you face in carrying out your project e. This section looks at two main areas of study, multimodality and information technology. First, we introduce and define multimodality, consider some examples of multimodal texts and outline why they are worth studying. We then look at ways in which developments in technology are often linked to often subtle changes in language — language form — as well as affecting how we communicate with each other. Finally we draw these together, focusing on information technology and multimodality in educational settings and the processes of teaching and learning.

We raise some questions about issues of access and patterns of participation in these emerging practices of communication, drawing on the material in this section. As you study this section, you will be encouraged to make links to issues raised earlier in the unit. You will also work through some examples of multimodal analysis in the Workbook, and consider some research issues relevant to these types of approach.

Multimodal texts are defined as texts which communicate their message using more than one semiotic mode , or channel of communication. Examples are magazine articles which use words and pictures, or websites which contain audio clips alongside the words, or film which uses words, music, sound effects and moving images. As soon as you start to take this idea seriously, you realise that, in a sense, all human communication is intrinsically multimodal.

We rarely read, write, receive or send messages to one other in a single mode. In spoken language, for example, words are often accompanied by facial gestures, hand movements and so on. This paralanguage is communicative, and is hard to separate from words as we engage in the process of interpretation. Even a piece of solid written text with no pictures can be said to convey messages from visual modes. We may be influenced by the typeface of the text: it may seem formal or informal, childlike such as large lower case letters , or carry other connotations which support or undermine the apparent message of the words.

The layout of the page can also be interpreted as conveying meaning: think about your impression of a text set out in columns like a newspaper article, or double spaced like a first draft of a report, or densely packed like a dictionary entry. Advertisements exploit this extra layer of meaning as a matter of routine.

Our knowledge and experience of other texts is brought to bear and colours what we take from any new text, even if this process is not a conscious one. Some of the principle communicative components of text are:. The study of multimodality involves looking at these components and the ways they communicate meaning, both separately and in combination.

Components of multimodal texts often take on new meanings, or connotations, when they interact in a complete text. Newspaper headlines, for example, may be placed next to a striking photograph which reinforces the story, or even undermines it. Black and white film may be deliberately used to convey a sense of the past. Teachers may gesture to the class in order to reinforce what they are saying.

In this section you will learn about and try out types of analysis which aim to integrate visual and physical aspects of communication with analysis of spoken and written language. However, the study of communication within the tradition of Western linguistics has tended to focus predominantly on verbal aspects of communication. A call has come in recent times to integrate visual and physical aspects of communication into analyses of spoken and written language.

This arises out of two principal concerns:. It will already be clear that while multimodality is pretty much the norm in most forms of communication, it is not new, nor has it suddenly become relevant to education. Later readings in this section suggest, however, that what is new is an urgent need for a serious consideration of modes other than speaking and writing in the classroom.

But these modes, even on simple websites, communicate in many ways: through layout, colour, typeface, for example. What do the different elements of this website suggest to you? Computers, then, are rapidly adding new multimodal texts to our daily communicative practices. In some communities, though, multimodal communication is routine and has existed for centuries. The next reading introduces you to an example of this from Brazil. Section 3 has already introduced the idea that wider social processes, including cultural practices, shape the ways we use language and create meaning.

However, the introduction of the technology of writing interacts with traditional cultural practices and can be generative or transformative. Swanwick highlighted a number of issues relevant to both deaf and hearing children, as they learned to write in English.

1.1 Introduction to the Concept of Literacies

Some had hearing parents and siblings; some did not. Swanwick pointed out that deaf children learning to write English have to shift between, and make sense of, three modes of communication simultaneously: sign language — visual; English — spoken; English — written. Monolingual hearing children only have to cope with two.

Swanwick noted that differences between the two languages, such as the importance of facial gesture and word order, make the literacy development of deaf children very different from the biliteracy development of hearing children. Some meanings in BSL, moreover, are not amenable to direct translation. Swanwick concluded that the children used a variety of strategies to write their stories in English, and suggested that those with more developed speaking skills appeared to find the writing task easier, as they can think in English rather than only in BSL.

As an academic area of study, multimodality has attracted increasing interest over the last decade or so. This interest stems from a number of factors, including:. We are accustomed to certain types of multimodal texts, such as films, television and advertising. These have been studied in terms of the semiotic modes they use. In the case of advertisements, the research agenda is often to unravel and make explicit the strategies that are being used to persuade us to buy the product.

Advertisements frequently encourage us to make links between semiotic modes which are actually present in the text e. Unlike early computers which required written commands to be entered, all modern computer systems use desktop screens with visual icons that users click to start programs. Programs themselves rely on the use of button bars icons to perform most functions, and if we use CD-ROMs or the internet we are immediately immersed in multimodality — sounds, images, video clips, radio programmes, music.

Being surrounded by such texts, it is important that we understand how meaning is derived from individual elements in a text, such as words, pictures and sounds, and how the meanings of these elements interact to form a whole. Many researchers believe that such an understanding of multimodal texts is so important that it should be a central part of literacy pedagogy. The authors give their reasons for advocating a broad definition of literacy as follows:. First, we want to extend the idea and scope of literacy pedagogy to account for the context of our culturally and linguistically diverse and increasingly globalised societies, for the multifarious cultures that interrelate and the plurality of texts that circulate.

Second, we argue that literacy pedagogy now must account for the burgeoning variety of text forms associated with information and multimedia technologies. This includes understanding and competent control of representational forms that are becoming increasingly significant in the overall communications environment, such as visual images and their relationship to the written word — for instance, visual design in desktop publishing or the interface of visual and linguistic meaning in multimedia. Indeed, this second point relates closely back to the first; the proliferation of communications channels and media supports and extends cultural and subcultural diversity.

As soon as our sights are set on the objective of creating the learning conditions for full social participation, the issue of differences become critically important. How do we ensure that differences of culture, language, and gender are not barriers to educational success? And what are the implications of these differences for literacy pedagogy? The authors argue that literacy pedagogy must take account of the different literacy demands made on students in an increasingly culturally diverse world, where future employment depends less on manual skills and more on communication skills.

The purpose of education, they argue, is to equip students with the skills to participate fully in social and economic life. These are broad and ambitious aims. Small studies into how children begin to engage with literacy support them, however. The effect on boys, in particular, was to engender lower motivation and achievement Millard and Marsh, , p. Coles and Hall consider how contemporary texts often require different ways of reading than do conventional books, with their linear and ordered reading paths — from left to right in English, for example.

Coles and Hall describe these as displaying the fun, parody and irony of postmodernism:. Children also regularly interact with websites and periodicals, which make similar demands on them. Because reading in these texts is non-linear, and readers have to actively engage with them rather than passively consume them, the authors argue that there are implications for how reading is approached in school:. The forms that texts take are often closely related to their means of production, and the intentions of the producers, which are shaped by political and commercial forces, or sometimes simply by certain views of the world ideologies.

It is important to be aware of these forces and ask questions of texts, such as who produced it and why? What is its purpose? What views does it portray or reject? This ideological approach involving often quite detailed critique of texts has been an important one over the last three decades, and has been taken up by social scientists and linguists in particular. So far in this unit we have discussed discourses in terms of the verbal mode of communication.

It is also possible to identify them in operation in the visual. This descriptive detail is important in multimodal research and analysis. But so too is the more abstract notion of design: constructions of childhood, family, etc. The photographs therefore encode discourses about childhood, homes, families and gender.

Kress and van Leeuwen point out that not all cultures separate children from adults in these ways, nor do they design spaces for these specific activities. They also note that the design of the bedrooms is highly gendered, and link this to conventionalised notions of appropriate behaviour for boys and girls: girls read, sing, dance and dress up, whereas boys play with trains and toys. A desk is also shown. Multimodal texts can guide our reading and interaction with them in other ways. Researchers have noted, for example, that encyclopaedias produced on CD-ROMs can be quite restrictive in terms of how they can be used, what information is available, and how people and events are represented.

Luke sees a major challenge for education in mediating electronic texts:. Literacy requirements have changed and will continue to change as new technologies come on the marketplace and quickly blend into our everyday private and work lives. And unless educators take a lead in developing appropriate pedagogies for these new electronic media and forms of communication, corporate experts will be the ones to determine how people will learn, what they learn, and what constitutes literacy.

Many of these best-selling American-authored encyclopaedias are in use in Australian schools and households. But even Australian-authored educational CD-ROMs reproduce the same old tired narratives on, for instance, bushrangers framed in mythologies of male heroes, and narratives of colonialism framed in mythologies of settlement instead of invasion. This is not to say that many educational products on the market today are pedagogically unsound or lack innovative teaching-learning methods.

They compared the introductory screens splash screens and a page of information from each CD about koala bears. The authors were interested in the ideological positions set up within the CD-ROM texts, in how information was presented as factual or questionable, in implicit or explicit hierarchical structures, and in how the design encourages particular ways of navigation through the text.

Encarta , on the other hand, uses both verbal text and visual icons and encourages topic-specific searching and navigation. They advocate providing students with critical evaluative tools for use with such multimodal texts. He is interested in how visual and verbal information is presented, and what sorts of information are presented in each mode. Van Leeuwen notes that the visual mode is used in a similar way throughout the tours, whereas the verbal text differs considerably; and he questions whether the various guides leading users through the database represent different points of view on events.

Overall, he suggests that the apparently different viewpoints are actually packaged consistently — while they may appear heterogeneous on the surface, there is an underlying conformity. Van Leeuwen links this to practices in other spheres of life, such as radio broadcasts which, while admitting wide variations of accent and musical style in their programmes, all tend to follow a similar overall format.

Children using this CD-ROM may follow different routes, but they are nonetheless learning social and textual patterns which are remarkably conformist. Look particularly for:. It is claimed that technology has played a hugely facilitating role in democratising the processes of text production, for those who have access to it. Desktop publishing and word processing programs certainly make it easy for users to change typefaces, layout, emphasis; they can add images often supplied pre-drawn ; they can digitise photographs and change almost anything about them; they can send audio clips and video clips, and so on.

Web authoring programs are also widely available.

Literacy and Gender: Researching Texts, Contexts and Readers

A vast number of non-professionals have thus been handed the tools of individualised text production. As we will see in the next part, however, even larger numbers of people have no such tools. Our increasing engagement with multimodal texts in more and more areas of our lives, as well as the need to create them ourselves, comes largely from the widespread use of technology. Before we turn to look at that in more detail, however, we outline some more general ways in which technology influences language use and linguistic forms. Just as not all multimodality derives from technology, not all technology produces multimodal texts.

This part provides a brief outline of some of the ways in which developments in information and communications technology are linked to changes in language, as well as how we communicate with each other via technology. We have insufficient space here to discuss in detail the implications — political, social, commercial — of such developments, but you may wish to follow these up yourself.

Some connections between language and technology are pretty banal and unproblematic; others are profoundly political or financial in nature, and have to do with the globalising business practices of large corporations, and concomitant effects on smaller local communities, or the status of minority languages. It is clear, for example, that the availability of information and communications technology is not evenly spread around the world — there are vast inequalities in terms of access and use.

Accurate statistics on internet use are difficult to find, but it is possible to find some broad indicators such as number of users worldwide, and the languages being used by them. The figures for February are shown in Table 4. Others give figures in terms of percentage of population, which is more useful for drawing conclusions about comparative levels of access, although still not very precise about countries. According to Global Reach, an internet site containing information about e-commerce and demographic data, the online language populations in December were as shown in Figure 1.

Even where technology is available, it does not necessarily bring an appropriate model of communications to countries with different cultural and traditional practices. Many countries still struggle to provide basic education, with even chalk and slates being in short supply in many areas see Rassool, , for more about development and education. In the developed world, however, the introduction of new information technology always brings renewed claims that it is revolutionising the ways we communicate with each other. New media of communication have always brought with them new linguistic forms, and have required us to adapt established practices in order to use them.

Often this is because of the limitations of new technology think of the short, pared-down style of writing used on the early telegraph and then telex machines, or the many symbols and abbreviations used now in text messaging on mobile phones. There are also some less obvious, but interesting, effects of technology on language itself, or on the choice of which language to use.

In the early days of computers it was possible to buy a range of keyboards, each suited to typing at speed in different languages. This dominance of keyboards designed to work well for the English language could therefore be seen as a potential contributing factor in the growing dominance of English and the concurrent decline of endangered minority languages.

The world wide web exercises a similarly subtle form of control over the ways web authors can create their texts. Speakers of other languages wishing to create websites, therefore, are forced to do this at least partially through English, even if their actual website is displayed in another language. The same can be said for most computer code. Call centres, through which many of the service sector industries such as banks and insurance companies route all calls from customers, have become ubiquitous.

Staff working in them frequently speak to customers according to pre-defined scripts Goodman, ; Cameron, , and nearly all aspects of communication with customers are prescribed order of questions, terms of address, salutation and so on. Telecommunications technology allows incoming calls from any part of a country to be automatically redirected to call centres elsewhere, without the caller realising this.

Some call centres serving British and American companies are located elsewhere, often in countries such as India which have a large pool of English-speaking graduates. With low rupee costs and high dollar revenues, Indian call centres are about 40 per cent cheaper to run than US ones In everything but pay, however, Indian call centres try to be the same as US ones.

Foremost is the acquired accent of call centre workers. The teaching at the colleges is designed to neutralise an existing accent rather than add a new one. Computer based tuition is a large part of the four week training, with courses designed by US language specialists. There are clearly tensions here for the call centre staff: on the one hand technology brings employment possibilities with it; on the other, staff pay a price in terms of having to neutralise their accent and with it an aspect of their social identity.

As well as permitting the existence of such businesses, technology is also used in staff training. Staff are taught about US culture:. They should know that snow is rare in Florida — and therefore not to ask a Florida caller about winter clothes — as well as be informed about bearish sentiment on the Nasdaq. Claims about the democratisation of design, and control over how we communicate, are difficult to square with the demands made of some call centre staff.

Their language use, and in the example described above, even their accent, is strictly prescribed and rigidly controlled. SMS is now a hugely popular means of communication. In the UK it is largely associated with teenagers, but elsewhere it has been instrumental in political activity. These text messages were predominantly in English.

Literacy and Gender sets out to redress this state of affairs by re-examining the social organization of literacy in primary schools.

Literacy And Gender Researching Texts Contexts And Readers Literacies

In studying schooling as a social process, this book focuses on the links between literacy, gender and attainment, the role school plays in producing social difference and the changing pattern of interest in this topic both within the feminist community and beyond. Using fine-grained ethnographic analysis of reading in context, this book outlines methods for researching literacy as a social practice and understanding how different versions of what counts as literacy can be created in the same site.

We provide complimentary e-inspection copies of primary textbooks to instructors considering our books for course adoption. Learn More about VitalSource Bookshelf. CPD consists of any educational activity which helps to maintain and develop knowledge, problem-solving, and technical skills with the aim to provide better health care through higher standards.

Literacy and Gender: Researching Texts, Contexts and Readers (Literacies)

It could be through conference attendance, group discussion or directed reading to name just a few examples. Free download.

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