Re-mediating the University: Learning through Sociocritical Literacies

Article (PDF Available)inPedagogies 4(1):1-23 · February 2009with 179 Reads 
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DOI: 10.1080/15544800802557037
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The article provides a framework for the development of robust learning ecologies organized around the cultural historical concept of “re-mediation”. In contrast to traditional “remedial” approaches to students from nondominant communities, re-mediation involves a transformation of the learning ecology, including a shift in the way tools and forms of assistance function to incite and facilitate learning. This article elaborates the notion of “re-mediation” in redesigning contexts for learning in which all students can be “smart” through the conscious and strategic use of a range of theoretic and material tools. The key concepts of re-mediation, a historicizing education, and sociocritical literacies are discussed in the context of two cases that illustrate two learning ecologies developed for students historically excluded from robust learning and higher education. A programme that was antecedent to the design of the current project addressed in this special issue is elaborated to emphasize the importance of attending to the historical and conceptual trails of work with students from nondominant communities.
  • ... We refer to this approach as social design experimentation (Gutiérrez, 2008;2016). This methodology developed over three decades in response to systems of education and learning that were failing immigrant youth, dual language learners, and youth from underresourced schools and communities (Gutiérrez, Hunter, & Arzubiaga, 2009). ...
  • ... This lack of coherent theory, and thus an agreed upon definition, for visual literacy impacts research; forming a consistently accepted definition would help to advance research within the field [6] - [8]. However, it is widely accepted that traditional definitions of literacy that focus solely on the reading and writing of text-based media are now insufficient [4], [8] - [10]. ...
  • ... These structuring activities should be "whole activities" [62], which intertwine multiple strands of mathematics [61]. In this way, skills are not separated from the practices that give them meaning [45,63]. ...
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    In this paper, I consider a pervasive myth in mathematics education, that of Plato-formalism. I show that this myth is ahistorical, acultural, and harmful, both for mathematics and for society. I argue that, as teachers, we should reject the myth of Plato-formalism and instead understand mathematics as a human activity. This philosophy humanizes mathematics and implies that math education should be active, cultural, historical, social, and critical—helping students learn formal mathematics, while also learning that mathematics shapes their lives, that this shaping is a result of human work and choices, and that students are empowered to shape those choices.
  • ... From a new literacies perspective, such conditions discouraged students from participating in the social contexts where college writing is authentically practiced and learned. The framework also exposes how these conditions inadvertently reinforce deficit explanations and skills-based solutions to address readiness disparities (Gutiérrez, Hunter, & Arzubiaga, 2009a). ...
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    This case study offers a qualitative perspective on a relationship between institutional structures and student outcomes. The data describe the conditions in 10 English remediation classrooms at one urban community college district. The study uses new literacies as a theoretical framework with which to understand how these conditions supported classroom-level teaching and learning. Findings suggest that classroom conditions undermined new literacies’ assumptions that college writing is a social practice. The authors discuss the implications of these findings for research to improve writing remediation policies.
  • ... The concept of re-mediation versus remediation is more than just a play on words; it is significant to understanding transformation as the object of SDEs (Cole & Griffin, 1983). The notion of remediation focuses attention to the social organization of a learning environment in ways that promote both individual and collective transformation (Cole & Griffin, 1983;Gutiérrez, Hunter, & Arzubiaga, 2009). Briefly, re-mediation involves the reorganization of systems and environments with a "conscious and strategic use of a range of theoretical and material tools" that promote learning and harness a student's repertoire of practice to create an environment where everyone can be "smart" (Gutiérrez et al., 2009, p. 12). ...
  • ... Furthermore, understanding the complexities of developing and using images across multiple disciplines is crucial for learning through multiple modalities at a time when traditional disciplinary boundaries are under scrutiny. Gutiérrez and Hunter (2009) suggest that we are suffering from 'narrowly conceived notions of academic literacy' and the traditional understanding of how students construct knowledge and become literate needs a critical reassessment (17). ...
    Higher education has traditionally privileged language-based text as evidence of students’ levels of critical thinking and literacy. Twenty-first century education at all levels however, has focused on multimodal literacies and how educators can engage students who are seeing the world through diverse representations and a myriad of forms. Many scholars maintain that we live in a visual culture where we are becoming increasingly proficient at reading images of all kinds. However, our criteria for assessing student learning and measures of assessment have not moved much beyond the traditional written texts outside art and design disciplines. While much has been written about the role of visual literacy, there is little research on assessing visual literacy competencies. This paper proposes a Visual Literacy Competency (VLC) rubric based on the Biggs and Collis (1982. Evaluating the Quality of Learning: The SOLO Taxonomy (Structure of the Observed Learning Outcome). New York: Academic Press) SOLO taxonomy and describes applications for assessing assignments in two undergraduate communications courses with a focus on further developing and shaping student learning.
  • ... This approach is in line with the characteristics of other long-term, sustainable and effective school-university collaborations, such as University-Community Links ( at the University of California (Gutierrez et al. 2009). The characteristics of such approaches are important to identify, because students and parents believe that summer schools offer important and meaningful learning opportunities. ...
  • ... In addition, activities and their relation to other systems can achieve an expansive cycle of re ection and change as participants examine the sources of contradiction (Engeström, 1996). Disagreements about the facts often arose as the children's stories intersected with one another's histories and values, and with the history of rules, materials, divisions of labor and goals organized at the school, district, state, and national levels (Gutiérrez, Hunter, & Arzubiga, 2009). ...
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