Literacy Lives in Transcultural Times



Combining language research with digital, multimodal and critical literacy, this book uniquely positions issues of transcultural spaces and cosmopolitan identities across an array of contexts. Studies of everyday diasporic practices across places, spaces, and people’s stories provide authentic pictures of people living in and with diversity. Its distinctive contribution is a framework to relate observation and analysis of these flows to language development, communication, and meaning making. Each chapter invites readers to reflect on the dynamism and complexity of spaces and contexts in an age of increasing mobility, political upheaval, economic instabilities, and online/offline landscapes.
... Meaning-making in this project involved verbal intercultural communication as students communicated virtually amongst themselves and with others using different means. It also involved the expression of their backgrounds, social identifications (including language identifications), localised ways and knowledges, emotions, desires and aspirations (Leung & Scarino, 2016), which are all part of a broad conception of literacy (Zaidi & Rowsell, 2017) and are important dimensions of intercultural communication, the focus of the US students' online course. The Argentinian students were using their foreign language but also experiencing the complexities of intercultural communication and realising that linguistic competence has to be enriched by other skills. ...
In this article we argue, in the context of the current dominance of the performative and instrumental drives characterizing the accountable university, that language and intercultural communication education in universities should also be humanistic, addressing ‘discomforting themes’ to sensitize students to issues of human suffering and engage them in constructive and creative responses to that suffering. We suggest that arts-based methods can be used and illustrate this with an intercultural telecollaboration project created in response to the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020. In this way language and intercultural communication education can become a site of personal and social transformation albeit modest and piecemeal as part of a longer process. Through arts-based methodologies and pedagogies of discomfort, Argentinian and US undergraduates explored how the theme of the Covid-19 crisis has been expressed artistically in their countries, and then communicated online, using English as their lingua franca, to design in mixed international groups artistic multimodal creations collaboratively to channel their suffering and trauma associated with the pandemic. This article analyses and evaluates the project. Data comprise the students’ artistic multimodal creations, their written statements describing their creations, and pre and post online surveys. Our findings indicate that students began a process of transformation of disturbing affective responses by creating artwork and engaging in therapeutic social and civic participation transnationally, sharing their artistic creations using social media. We highlight the powerful humanistic role of education involving artistic expression, movement, performativity, and community engagement in order to channel discomforting feelings productively at personal and social levels.
... (pp. 24-25) Power is embedded in limited definitions of literacy and the ways in which those limited definitions have been used to marginalize particular skills and bodies of knowledge over time (Battiste, 1984;Kuby, Spector, & Johnson Thiel, 2019;Zaidi & Rowsell, 2017). The history is one of literary violence in our territory, and that Mi'kmaw discursive systems were ignored and (Battiste, 1984(Battiste, , 2013(Battiste, , 2016b. ...
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Working from the premise that learning to live well in our places is quickly becoming a necessity of human survival, in this article we weave together divergent experiences of our shared place, the Wabanaki Confederacy or Eastern Canada, and literatures and literacies of that place. This article is methodologically framed using the concept of “métissage” as it has been taken up in Canadian curriculum studies as a form of intertextual life writing. Through our métissage, we are ultimately concerned with theorizing the idea of reading place—making sense of the ways in which settler colonialism has historically made, and continues to make, itself felt on Land. The idea of reading place, however, also demands that we actively engage in disrupting the normativity of settler colonial presence on Land—particularly as manifest through literature and literacy. Toward speaking back to the normativity of this settler colonial presence, the authors draw on divergent pedagogical and literary practices toward ensuring indigenous futurities. Keywords: settler colonialism; literacies of the land; literacy
... Technology is ever increasing and more rapidly changing the way we communicate with each other, at a societal level, in our history. Literacy requirements demanded by these emergent technologies are also changing and stretching far beyond traditional notions of literacy such as reading, writing and phonics to encompass a wide range of literate practices, knowledges and skills Fisherkeller, 2015;Zaidi & Rowsell, 2017). Design thinking, creativity, problem solving and critical thinking skills are essential elements required to successfully navigate through modern social and cultural life (Taura & Nagai, 2010). ...
Book This book examines critical literacy within language and literacy learning, with a particular focus on English as an Additional Language learners in schools who traditionally are not given the same exposure to critical literacy as native-English speakers. An important and innovative addition to extant literature, this book explains how English language teachers understand critical literacy and enact it in classrooms with adolescent English language learners from highly diverse language backgrounds. This book brings together the study of two intersecting phenomena: how critical literacy is constructed in English language education policy for adolescent English language learners internationally and how critical literacy is understood and enacted by teachers amid the so-called ‘literacy crisis’ in neoliberal eduscapes. The work traces the ways critical literacy has been represented in English language education policy for adolescents in five contexts: Australia, England, Sweden, Canada and the United States. Drawing on case study research, it provides a comparative analysis of how policy in these countries constructs critical literacy, and how this then positions critical engagement as a focus for teachers of English language learners. Empirically based and accessibly written, this timely book will be of interest to a wide range of academics in the fields of adolescent literacy education, English language learning and teaching, education policy analysis, and critical discourse studies. It will also appeal to teachers, post-graduate students and language education policy makers.
In this review essay, I refer to two recently published scholarly works that explore the notions of transcultural, mobile and placed literacies: in Languages and literacies as mobile and placed resources edited by Sue Nichols and Collette Snowden, and Literacy lives in transcultural times edited by Rahat Zaidi and Jennifer Rowsell. Much research in the field of literacy education has recently acknowledged how literacies are continually changing due to globalisation and transmobility. People move, places change, and objects shift in and through these spaces. Researchers and educators are, therefore, grappling with how best to address these diversities and engage learners in such environments. Through a review of the books mentioned above, two key questions are explored: what are the appropriate pedagogies for literacy education? Where and how is literacy education research leading us into the future? This review takes a socio-cultural perspective of literacy by presenting the contemporary research that attempts to answer these questions.
What happens when teachers perceive a growing rift between their pedagogical practice and their students’ lived experiences? How do teachers respond to the uncertainty that such a “relevance gap” can create? In a climate in which literacy research is often pressed to address the achievement gap and to contribute to a sense of certainty, this study explored the relevance gap experienced by teachers in their teaching of writing and the ways that teaching with uncertainty contributed to their practice. Situated in theories of curriculum as currere, local knowledge of practice, and pedagogy as assemblage, the article focuses on the theory and practice of four educators who teach writing in very different and diverse contexts. The rhizo-textual analysis of the data inspired a process of making assemblages to explore context, positionality, and power in teachers’ identities as writers and teachers of writing. Two such assemblages are described, one exploring struggle and the other possibility. In the struggles and uncertainties they experienced, each teacher found new possibilities in different places: in the land, in slam poetry, in story, and in film. Our mappings and analyses suggest that teachers can create new pedagogies of becoming for them and their students by burrowing into uncertainty, process, and social critique.
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