This paper has 2 over all purposes

Firstly, I want to explore how trainee teachers registered on a University Diploma in Literacy and ESOL course embody different conceptions of literacy.

I am conscious in this undertaking of this seemingly being an area that has been discussed in detail from within a professional community of teacher educators and while it may be recently discovered terrain for me – there is a significant body of work available to which this is a contribution. What is distinct about this discussion is I am not here driven by a desire to improve my practice as a teacher educator – as such (though that desire is always lurking). Nor am I using a social practices theoretical framework to critique a skills based approach as such.

My intention is to map trainee teachers’ changing perspective – to see if and how their view changes and if so – along what lines, and what key points in the programme and propelled by what particular engagements. Although broadly I am asking about trainees’ engagement with different conceptions of literacy, I anticipate that what will emerge are conflicting and contradictory views and it is the nature of this contestation I want to explore.  I appreciate the reflexivity that this requires as in part I am implicated in trainees developing understanding: their changing conception may be amongst other things a reflection of my professional prowess.

Given that this research stands outside of a policy infrastructure that aligns itself to the delivery of government policy – I am not a practitioner nor am I connected to any organisation with an interest in the success of policy and am able to dominate notions of both literacy or literacies – as far as this study is concerned. Literacy as social practices based on empirical research is a stark critique of a skills based approach and while they are not entirely irreconcilable, adopting a literacies approach would seem to undermine much of the infrastructure that defines the skills of life legacy that still dominates adult literacy and ESOL teaching.  

One of my current trainees quite expresses it quite well: ‘all of this is very interesting but at the end of the day, I still have to tick that box’.

What I explore with trainees are their own hybrid literacies, or hybrid literacy conceptions. Am here echoing Wilson third space literacies, Kell and the notion of literacy as shell that prohibits the formation of literacies to emerge. But my intention is to explore trainees hybrid literacies. That is the study looks at their changing ideas but in so doing I explore not their explicit answer to the question: what do you understand by the term literacy, what does it mean to be a competent literacy user. I also invite them to reflect on the implications so literacy as social practice and to annotate their own approaches to completing an assignment. I exploring their own reconciliations of literacy and literacies my focus is not restricted to an entirely academic arena but explores research participants literacies in different places and spaces.

The second exploration is methodological.

Although based largely on as aspect of my practice, I have not framed this research as action research in that I do not particularly seek to improve upon my any aspect of the programme as a result of this study. I am however conscious of being deeply implicated within the study and to ensure my altering presence part of the material under study.

The study makes use of situational analysis: grounded theory pushed around the post-modern turn.

(I will need to add to this – for now – it’s blogged , as they say – it’s late, I will return at a later stage in a different colour)

Individual Human elements / actors
Literacy students: case studies
Theorists – Barton, Hamilton, Un-named author
John Hayes (policy Post16)
Non-human elements / actants
Online spaces & electronic communications
Visual representations of literacy (Curriculum documents  & statistics)
ILPs / Lesson Plans / Schemes of Work / Materials
Collective Human elements / actors
Students (ESOL / Literacy)
Coalition Policy
New Labour Policy
Implicated / silent actors / actants
Race, gender and class
Key events in situation
Spending review and budget
Events in organisations
Discursive constructions, individual or collective human actors
The literacy / ESOL learner
Good / Proper English
Teachers metaphors for teaching
Discursive constructions of non-human actants
Race / gender / class: irrelevant in official discourse & learning outcomes
Political / economic elements
Work context ie teaching numeracy
Socio cultural / symbolic elements
The literate adult
Temporal elements: US national historical frame
Pre-Skills for Life
Skills for Life
Spatial elements
Training Rooms
Tutorial rooms
Major issue debates (usually contested)
conceptions of literacy
Related discourses (historical narrative &/or visual)
changing conceptions of literacy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s