Preparing Preservice Educators to Teach Critical, Place-Based Literacies

To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the author.


Secondary education means helping students develop a diverse repertoire of literacy skills, but the focus has been on disciplinary and digital literacies practiced by geographically distributed communities (an international, middle class curriculum) rather than on practices associated with orality, the trades, and minority, immigrant, and Indigenous knowledges. In contrast, critical approaches to literacy instruction recognize the need to incorporate students' place-based funds of knowledge into the curriculum. To illustrate one such approach, this article presents a case study of practitioner research in a secondary teacher education program. Although the syllabus of a core course on adolescent literacies focused on academic and digital ones, teacher candidates who participated in a form of qualitative inquiry called Indigenous métissage had much to say about place-based funds of knowledge in their subject areas during a field trip and class discussion. These findings suggest that critical, place-based literacy may be an untapped resource in teacher education.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the author.

... Four others used the term project-based (Byker et al., 2018;Howard, 2002;Kelly-Jackson & Delacruz, 2014;Webeck, Hasty, & French, 2006). Mendoza (2018) framed her work according to the Canadian curriculum theory of méssitage, a type of qualitative inquiry designed to help students explore relationality, and in an early childhood context, Spybrook and Walker (2012) described the inquiry as literacy-embedded play. In 16 studies, Freire (1970) was described as a thinker and writer whose work influenced the researchers' understanding of inquiry as a pedagogy. ...
... In ELA instruction, inquiry focused on several different aspects of literacy. Critical literacy was a major focus of eleven studies (Bartow-Jacobs & Low, 2017; Crawford-Garrett & Fecho et al., 2000;Leland et al., 2007;Mendoza, 2018;Rogers et al., 2016;Sánchez, 2010;Scherff, 2012;Skerrett, 2010;Smith & Lennon, 2011). Five studies emphasized multi-genre inquiry, New Literacies, and multiliteracies, (Bartow-Jacobs & Low, 2017; Roberts & Brugar, 2017;Rosaen & Terpstra, 2012;Rowsell et al., 2008;Simon, 2007), and two emphasized place-based literacies (Eppley, 2011;Mendoza, 2018). ...
... Critical literacy was a major focus of eleven studies (Bartow-Jacobs & Low, 2017; Crawford-Garrett & Fecho et al., 2000;Leland et al., 2007;Mendoza, 2018;Rogers et al., 2016;Sánchez, 2010;Scherff, 2012;Skerrett, 2010;Smith & Lennon, 2011). Five studies emphasized multi-genre inquiry, New Literacies, and multiliteracies, (Bartow-Jacobs & Low, 2017; Roberts & Brugar, 2017;Rosaen & Terpstra, 2012;Rowsell et al., 2008;Simon, 2007), and two emphasized place-based literacies (Eppley, 2011;Mendoza, 2018). Other researchers explored the role of informational texts, (Diego-Medrano et al., 2016), storytelling (Coulter et al., 2007), critical media literacy (Morrell, 2011) transmediation (Magee & Leeth, 2014), and interdisciplinary learning (Stolle & Frambaugh-Kritzer, 2014). ...
Inquiry models of teaching and learning have a long history in education. With a focus on contemporary (2000–2018) empirical research, this systematic review of literature focuses on the question: What is known about how inquiry is used and framed in literacy preservice teacher preparation? Findings suggest that inquiry is an effective tool for preservice teacher learning, and although there are challenges (i.e. time, resources, preservice teachers’ preconceived ideas about curriculum, and curricular constraints), preservice teachers can learn to enact inquiry-based teaching methods with transformative possibilities.
... Recent research shows that excessive use of these devices can lead to absolute dependence of the user on the object [11][12][13][14] and addictive behavior [15]. This is manifested by the need to use the phone more and more [16][17][18], exhibiting sadness, depression, anger, irritability, restlessness, tension or nervousness when the phone is not available [5]. ...
... All this promotes benefits in our daily tasks, but it is also beginning to generate new pathologies, among which are phobias and addictions. An example of this is the emergence of the concept of nomophobia, which refers to the anxiety caused in people by not being able to access the smartphone at a certain time [11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23]. ...
Full-text available
The use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) is generating the emergence of new pathologies such as nomophobia. The aim of this research was to analyze the prevalence of nomophobia among young people, as well as to check whether the level of nomophobia is higher in males or females and in those students who claim to have less healthy nutrition due to the use of their mobile phones. The research method was based on a correlational and predictive design with a quantitative methodology. The measurement tool used is the Nomophobia Questionnaire (NMP-Q). The participating sample was 1743 students between 12 and 20 years old from different educational stages of the Autonomous City of Ceuta (Spain). The results show that highest rates of nomophobia were found in relation to the inability to communicate and contact others immediately. About gender, women have higher rates of nomophobia than men. In relation to age, no significant differences were found; thus, the problem may affect all ages equally. Finally, students who think that their smartphone use is detrimental to their good nutrition show higher levels on the scale provided.
... In addition, online discussions around professional texts were found to be effective in building understanding of sociocultural influences on learning (Skerrett et al., 2015). Additional examples of textual experiences included a panel discussion about LGBTQ youth and allies (Staley & Leonardi, 2016) and a museum exhibit field trip (Mendoza, 2018). ...
... Finally, some teachers expressed a desire to act in their future practice as an outcome of inquiry. PTs recognized the importance of addressing issues of race with students (e.g., Hill, 2012), using place-based pedagogies in instructional decisions (Mendoza, 2018), attending to LGBTQ identities and discrimination (Staley & Leonardi, 2016), and employing drama-based pedagogies to build multiple perspectives in response to text (Brindley & Laframboise, 2002). PTs had opportunities not only to study and explore inequitable social issues but also to envision and develop agency as future teachers. ...
Full-text available
Although the call for teachers to address the demographic imperative has existed for decades, recently, there has been an uptake of frameworks of multicultural education, culturally responsive pedagogies, critical literacy, and others into literacy teacher preparation. In this study, we examine connections that pre-service teachers make as a result of experiences focused on sociocultural knowledge and literacy and barriers they face in building these connections. Areas of connection include examining one’s past; recognizing students’ lives and resources in literacy teaching; considering race, racism, and students’ racial identity; drawing on multilingualism as a strength of students for literacy learning; and engaging actively and inquiring into literacy.
... This twofold experience allows PSTs to engage in dialogue with future teachers from another teacher education program and to be immersed in a place-based experience with those peers. This attendance and engagement with the children's book festival provides professional presentations about integrating literature into teaching and opportunities to hear diverse authors speak about their varying works (Mendoza, 2017). ...
As the reading lives of teachers are also connected to their reading instruction with their early childhood and elementary students, one emphasis of preservice literacy courses is to encourage future teachers to read and consider diverse texts and the emotional and empathetic connections with them. Through the development of an appreciation for diverse picture books and their value within classrooms, preservice teachers are more prepared to integrate these texts throughout the content areas. This chapter explores place-based education in a teacher preparation program and (1) defines and provides theoretical support for using place-based education to prepare preservice teachers to instruct with children's literature; (2) discusses five ways the authors engage preservice teachers in place-based education: Children's Literary Tour of London and Paris (study abroad), Children's Book Festival Collaboration, Family Literacy Nights, Partnerships with Librarians, and Instagram Challenges; and (3) discusses each of these research-informed experiences and shares examples.
... Research has identified overexposure and inappropriate use of smartphones as some of the correlated challenges resulting from deficiencies in knowledge or education about smartphones [19,20]. Likewise, the extreme use of smartphones can result in total reliance and addictive behaviour [21][22][23] among higher education students. Besides, some negative consequences include increased anxiety and interference [24], reduced sense of volitional control [25] and increased psychological burnout [26]. ...
Full-text available
There is an upsurge in the use of mobile phones among higher education students in Ghana, which may result in the nomophobia prevalence with the students. Therefore, the need to assess the influence of nomophobia within the student population in Ghana. This descriptive cross-sectional study investigated the prevalence of nomophobia and the sociodemographic variables, and the association with academic achievement of the understudied population. A self-reporting nomophobia questionnaire, composed of 20 dimensions, was answered by 670 university students to measure the nomophobia prevalence. Raw data were estimated using descriptive statistics, and one-way ANOVA and Independent T-test. While the findings showed diverse grades of nomophobia, statistical significance between academic achievement and the level of nomophobia was observed. This study concludes that there is a high nomophobia prevalence among university students in Ghana as the use of smartphones increases. However, follow-up studies should be conducted in Ghanaian universities to monitor nomophobia and its associates in order to reduce the adverse effects of habitual use of smartphones.
... Reflection on the ICT-related changes to individual and collective aspects is as important for the intentional navigation of the digital space as it is for the technical ability to use devices, applications, and websites. An exemplary DL component is the critical assessment of content available online (Mendoza 2018). The ability to verify the reliability of information published online is as important as the ability to assess information found in the traditional analogue media. ...
Full-text available
The goal of the research was to assess the level of Digital Literacy (DL) among teachers. The study was diagnostic in order to show DL in six selected key areas: the ergonomics of using ICT, assessing the credibility of information, secure online communication, maintaining anonymity in the digital world, safe logging-in, and intellectual property. DL was measured using a knowledge and competence test. The study was conducted in Poland in 2017/2018 among 701 primary school teachers (primary being the second stage of education). Based on the data collected, we have noticed the following: DL is a heterogeneous concept; the respondents possess the lowest level of knowledge in the area of intellectual property law and know the most about ergonomics; gender does not determine the level of knowledge and competencies in the group. Furthermore, the Dunning-Kruger effect is noticeable among the teachers, in the context of evaluation of DL related to digital safety. We also need to emphasise that for teachers, DL is one of the key protective factors in digital safety, viewed holistically, in schools. Thus, diagnosing and facilitating the development of DL has become one of the key challenges faced by schools today.
Full-text available
This paper presents a qualitative research in the field of Education, focusing on literacy skills in the modality of rural education, specifically that literacy, as a teaching and learning process, offered to students living in agrarian reform settlements and other peasant communities that practice family agriculture, seeking to verify the contributions of research based on dialogical learning to this theme. This is a bibliographical study, dedicated to the analysis of articles gathered from international scientific indexing databases, with the objective of verifying, analyzing, characterizing, and categorizing the contributions of theories and practices that have, as one of their theoretical foundations, the dialogical learning perspective, especially Paulo Freire's studies on literacy skills in rural education. The research work sought to verify how dialogical education can collaborate to the development of school practices in literacy skills that better correspond to the educational needs of peasant populations. The data were analyzed using the techniques of Content Analysis and Communicative Methodology, with the theoretical input of Paulo Freire and other authors with a communicative base, that is, who take the dialogical perspective as a strategy to overcome inequalities, through critical and problematizing thinking, which is done in the social praxis and constitutes action and reflection in interaction. The research has shown that there is a consensus in the studies of rural education with dialogic foundation about the need to adopt teaching and learning methodologies in literacy skills of rural populations, which take into consideration the rural territorial identity, demonstrating that not paying attention to the specificities can generate exclusion, collaborating to the historical marginalization experienced by rural people. The studies also present a set of didactic and pedagogical indications that point to a specific methodology to literacy skills in rural contexts, in order to value and promote historically subjugated rural identities. It also shows the occurrence of two important subfields of international studies, “Place-based Education” and “Rural Literacies”, which were not found in the national sample set. Thus, this research intended to present contributions to the practice of teaching literacy skills in the modality of rural education, which can promote instrumental learning and critical consciousness and, thus, collaborate to the social sustainability of rural people and their territories, promoting the ethical commitment to help rural communities to think about their demands, problems and, above all, their own social, economic, and cultural survival.
Authors featured in this department share anthropological perspectives and qualitative insights to redefine community in adolescent and adult literacy practice.
What does it mean to “read between the lines?” In today’s society, print and nonprint texts may contain explicit or implicit messages promoting specific ideologies or biases, and future teachers need to be able to teach their students to read between the lines. Two teacher educators conducted a qualitative study in their literacy methods courses to determine if using a critical literacy graphic organizer would enable the preservice teachers to read more critically, uncover the sociopolitical issues underlying some children’s literature, and realize the potential for classroom discussions around these issues. Results indicated that although the critical literacy graphic organizer guided the preservice teachers to gain new understandings about messages contained within children’s literature, they experienced struggles with some aspects of a critical literacy approach.
Full-text available
The research objective was to determine the level of digital literacy (DL) among teachers. The scope of DL was narrowed to the issue of the safe use of electronic media. The research was conducted using a competency test and diagnostic survey. The following aspects of DL were measured: awareness of the mechanisms of communication with other Internet users and any threats resulting thereof, understanding what sexting is and what is meant by invasion of privacy, knowledge about copyright, ability to verify the credibility of information available online (the least developed area of DL), awareness of cyberbullying and the prevention thereof (the most developed DL skill), and the security of online financial operations. The study was conducted in the second half of 2016 in Poland and was commissioned by the Ministry of National Education responsible for the Bezpieczna+ (Safe+) project. The survey was carried out among 421 lower-secondary school teachers (covering three grades for children aged 12/13 to 15/16) from all over the country. The research results can be generalized at α = 0.95 level. The teachers surveyed showed different levels of DL. The teachers of technical subjects (including ICT) obtained the best results, whereas natural science teachers scored the lowest. Age was not a determinant of ICT expertise. A low level of DL and safety skills prevailed in the group of teachers who recently began their career in education (trainees). The group of beginner teachers in particular should be given educational support. This research also breaks the stereotype that young teachers have much more advanced DL than older teachers.
This forum reviews a mix of resources to inform pedagogy and related educational practices that foreground representations of youths and their literacy practices within and outside of school.
Full-text available
In this article, the New London Group presents a theoretical overview of the connections between the changing social environment facing students and teachers and a new approach to literacy pedagogy that they call "multiliteracies." The authors argue that the multiplicity of communications channels and increasing cultural and linguistic diversity in the world today call for a much broader view of literacy than portrayed by traditional language-based approaches. Multiliteracies, according to the authors, overcomes the limitations of traditional approaches by emphasizing how negotiating the multiple linguistic and cultural differences in our society is central to the pragmatics of the working, civic, and private lives of students. The authors maintain that the use of multiliteracies approaches to pedagogy will enable students to achieve the authors' twin goals for literacy learning: creating access to the evolving language of work, power, and community, and fostering the critical engagement necessary for them to design their social futures and achieve success through fulfilling employment.
Full-text available
The article proposes a framework for the analysis of identity as produced in linguistic interaction, based on the following principles: (1) identity is the product rather than the source of linguistic and other semiotic practices and therefore is a social and cultural rather than primarily internal psychological phenomenon; (2) identities encompass macro-level demographic categories, temporary and interactionally specific stances and participant roles, and local, ethnographically emergent cultural positions; (3) identities may be linguistically indexed through labels, implicatures, stances, styles, or linguistic structures and systems; (4) identities are relationally constructed through several, often overlapping, aspects of the relationship between self and other, including similarity/difference, genuineness/artifice and authority/ delegitimacy; and (5) identity may be in part intentional, in part habitual and less than fully conscious, in part an outcome of interactional negotiation, in part a construct of others’ perceptions and representations, and in part an outcome of larger ideological processes and structures. The principles are illustrated through examination of a variety of linguistic interactions.
Full-text available
Negative representations of parts of our cities are endemic in the Australian media, where certain suburbs function as motifs for failure--past, present, and future. Indeed, as one journalist put it after invoking the "interchangeable" triumvirate of Sydney's Mount Druitt, Melbourne's West Heidelberg, and Brisbane's Inala, "geography is destiny" (Wynhausen, 2006). This article critiques the discourses at play in the media and explores the possibilities and limitations of a pilot project wherein an urban place-based pedagogy is taken up as a mode of critical response as high school students begin to document in text and images what they love about "Our place." Further possibilities for engaging critically with place are explored in the concluding section of the article. (Contains 2 figures and 7 notes.)
This article reports on a case study inspired by the concept of “linguistic landscapes.” We collaborated with a group of Humanities teachers to design and implement the “Word on the Street” project, in which Grade 10 students took on the role of researchers to explore the linguistic, visual and spatial texts of their neighbourhood. We show how the concept of linguistic landscapes fits especially well with a pedagogy of multiliteracies by encouraging the critical study of multimodality and linguistic diversity in context. We then describe the design and implementation of the project, which combined visual analysis with the production of place-based documentaries. Reading two of the documentaries, we illustrate ways that students used the project to identify and investigate the gap between how their community is represented, and how they experience it in their daily lives. In the end, we argue that linguistic landscape analysis provides a unique pedagogical tool for recognizing the complexity of meaning-making in urban landscapes, one with the potential to confront the inequities that shape the lives of many youth living in contemporary global cities.
Rethinking questions of identity, social agency and national affiliation, Bhabha provides a working, if controversial, theory of cultural hybridity - one that goes far beyond previous attempts by others. In The Location of Culture, he uses concepts such as mimicry, interstice, hybridity, and liminality to argue that cultural production is always most productive where it is most ambivalent. Speaking in a voice that combines intellectual ease with the belief that theory itself can contribute to practical political change, Bhabha has become one of the leading post-colonial theorists of this era.
Issues of race constitute an emerging area of inquiry in language education. Yet, race, racialisation and racism are still stigmatised topics of discussion in everyday and professional contexts in multiracial and multiethnic countries. Canada is especially an interesting context in this regard due to its official policy of multiculturalism that constructs a national identity of tolerance towards diversity. Drawing on the author's personal experience, this article presents some fundamental ideas for critical antiracism which call into question the commonly accepted antiracist agenda in research and practice. These ideas include decolonising antiracism (moving beyond white vs. non-white dichotomy to scrutinise power relations between non-white settlers and aboriginal people), de-essentialising antiracism (paying increased attention to economic privilege) and de-simplifying and de-silencing antiracism (paying more attention to multifaceted forms of racism and making issues of racial inequalities explicit). Such critical reflectivity enables us to understand racism in broader relations of power and to take greater ethical responsibility in antiracism.
This article discusses the idea of linguistic landscape and describes a small-scale research project undertaken in a local EFL community in Mexico using public signs to analyse the social meanings of English. The author presents a framework that distinguishes between intercultural and intracultural uses, as well as iconic and innovative uses of English on signs. He also identifies six social meanings represented on the signs and uses photographs to illustrate each meaning. He argues that the project is useful both for thinking about the innovative ways people use the language in local contexts and as a template for a classroom-based project that teachers can implement that engages EFL students in investigating and talking about social language use. The conclusion presents an approach for using the linguistic landscape as a pedagogical resource in the EFL classroom which casts the students as language investigators and offers ideas for extension activities that connect the language classroom to the streets of the learners’ community.
As the knowledge that students have to learn becomes more specialized and complex in secondary schools, the language that constructs such knowledge also becomes more technical, dense, abstract, and complex, patterning in ways that enable content experts to engage in specialized social and semiotic practices. In order to effectively engage with the texts of disciplinary learning at the secondary level, adolescents need to develop new literacy skills and strategies in each subject area. This paper illuminates some of the ways language is used in secondary science, history, and mathematics and describes an approach to secondary reading, functional language analysis, that offers teachers strategies for focusing on language itself as a way to help students comprehend and critique the advanced texts of secondary schooling.
Although the originators of the language socialization (LS) paradigm were careful to cast socialization as a contingent, contested, 'bidirectional' process, the focus in much first language LS research on 'successful' socialization among children and caregivers may have obscured these themes. Despite this, I suggest the call for a more 'dynamic model' of LS (Bayley and Schecter 2003), while compelling, is unnecessary: contingency and multidirectionality are inherent in LS given its orientation to socialization as an interactionally-mediated process. This paper foregrounds the 'dynamism' of LS by examining processes comprising 'unsuccessful' or 'unexpected' socialization. Specifically, it analyses interactions involving 'oldtimer' 'Local ESL' students and their first-year teachers at a multilingual public high school in Hawai'i. Contingency and multidirectionality are explicated through analysis of two competing 'cultural productions of the ESL student.' The first, manifest in ESL program structures and instruction, was school-sanctioned or 'official.' Socialization of Local ESL students into this schooled identity was anything but predictable, however, as they consistently subverted the actions, stances, and activities that constituted it. In doing so, these students produced another, oppositional ESL student identity, which came to affect 'official' classroom processes in significant ways.
This book is an account of the development and implementation of the University of Massachusetts English Family Literacy Project, presented as a curriculum guide for others who may be involved in developing English-as-a-Second-Language and family literacy programs for immigrants and refugees. An introductory section describes the program, the process of writing the guide, and the intended audience and purpose of the guide, and offers questions and guidelines for group discussion of curriculum content and related issues. The guide is designed and recommended for use by a group rather than by individuals. Subsequent chapters address the following topics: (1) what constitutes family literacy; (2) the participatory approach to curriculum development; (3) determining program structure; (4) examining the process that occurs within the classroom; (5) involving students in the process of uncovering themes and issues as an integral part of classroom interaction (6) developing curriculum around themes using a variety of techniques, procedures, and activities; (7) using literacy to address real issues and make changes in the social context through collective effort; and (8) determining what counts as student progress. A list of over 130 resources is included. (MSE) (Adjunct ERIC Clearinghouse on Literacy Education)
This paper is a report on the theoretical origins of a decolonizing research sensibility called Indigenous Métissage. This research praxis emerged parallel to personal and ongoing inquiries into historic and current relations connecting Aboriginal peoples and Canadians in the place now called Canada. I frame the colonial frontier origins of these relations – and the logics that tend to inform them – as conceptual problems that require rethinking on more ethically relational terms. Although a postcolonial cultural theory called métissage offers helpful insights towards this challenge, I argue that the postcolonial emphasis on hybridity fails to acknowledge Indigenous subjectivity in ethical ways. Instead, I present an indigenized form of métissage focused on rereading and reframing Aboriginal and Canadian relations and informed by Indigenous notions of place. Doing Indigenous Métissage requires hermeneutic imagination directed towards the telling of a story that belies colonial frontier logics and fosters decolonizing.
In this commentary, the author argues for building disciplinary literacy instructional programs, rather than merely encouraging subject matter teachers to employ literacy teaching practices and strategies. Readers might wisely question a focus on disciplinary learning in a time when new media, literacies, and social networking practices are so powerful. The author's argument is that knowledge and skill in the subject matter of the disciplines is essential to young people becoming active participants in a democratic society.
Identity as an analytic lens for research in education
  • Gee
Gee, J.P. (2000). Identity as an analytic lens for research in education. Review of Research in Education, 25(1), 99-125.
Funds of knowledge: A look at Luis Moll's research into hidden family resources
  • North Central Regional Educational Laboratory
■ North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. (1994). Funds of knowledge: A look at Luis Moll's research into hidden family resources. Cityschools, 1(1), 19-21.
Multilingual learners and academic literacies: Sociocultural contexts of literacy development in adolescents
  • J.R. Lizárraga
  • G. Hull
  • J.M. Scott
Funds of knowl edge: Theorizing practices in households, communities, and classrooms
  • N González
  • L C Moll
  • C Amanti
González, N., Moll, L.C., & Amanti, C. (2005). Funds of knowl edge: Theorizing practices in households, communities, and classrooms. New York, NY: Routledge.
On the case: Approaches to language and literacy research
  • A H Dyson
  • C Genishi
Dyson, A.H., & Genishi, C. (2005). On the case: Approaches to language and literacy research. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Identity formation in globalizing contexts: Language learning in the new millennium
  • A. Lin
  • E. Man
Life writing and literary métissage as an ethos for our times
  • E Hasebe-Ludt
  • C Chambers
  • C Leggo
Hasebe-Ludt, E., Chambers, C., & Leggo, C. (2009). Life writing and literary métissage as an ethos for our times. New York, NY: Peter Lang.
  • Janks
An introduction to Bhabha's The Location of Culture: A Macat literature analysis
  • Macat
■ Macat. (2016). An introduction to Bhabha's The Location of Culture: A Macat literature analysis [Video]. Retrieved from watch?v=_mnh9mv8SGU