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Literacy as Accountability

Literacy as Accountability

This Is what I believe about literacy learning and teaching…. at this moment. That we are in charge of who is literate and who is not. I have also learned that we participate as teachers, even when we do not think we are, and our practices, then as teachers, enhance or deplete literacy depending on those that can read us. “It had a lot to do with speaking” with, “seeing correct words”- Deborah Brandt says in accumulation of literacy, a reading that I took heavily from in this course. Another thing I took advantage of while during this semester was the the literacy narrative. The narrative more then any other assignment drove me to criticize that exactly how much we promote literacy, is exactly how much we do not.

In interviewing my grandfather, I learned how much his literacy wasn’t was not encouraged by the newer accumulation of literacy that surpassed him.“Sponsors are a tangible reminder that literacy learning throughout history has always required permission , sanction, assistance, coercion, or at a minimum, contact with existing trade routes.” This comment by Debra Brandt has stayed with all semester, peeping in and out of my discoveries of what exactly literacy was, and how it functioned in our every day life. How our education shapes us through our literacy, first, as a force of identity, an identity we must choose and live with, and then as a debilitation to the ever piling accumulation of literacy itself. During the interview process from the narrative assignment, I interviewed my grandfather and his experiences with learning to read and write, and how his experiences, shaped him into the level literacy that he currently has attainted at the age of eighty four.

My grandfather graduated high school, and served in the military. During his time in the military, his reading and writing were very minimal. He was not needed to to convey many messages in his position, and in fact the only times he remembers reading and writing at all, was to write a very small repot, that was a few sentences long. A question and answer formatted worksheet. He also translated letters from family members from english to Spanish, or read them out loud in Spanish so that other officers could understand. This translating, was not needed for any other aspect of his job however, so his accumulation of this type of literacy, as well as all Spanish forms of literacy during this time in the united states, (1950-1953), were not tangible necessities for the american literacy trade routes of the 1950’s. Trade routes, taken from a Bradnt Idea again, “When economic forces are adressed in our work, they appear primarily as generalities: contexts, determinants, motivators, barriers touchstones. But rarely are they systematically elated to the local conditions, and embodied moments of literacy that occupy so many of us on a daily basis.” In a similar way, my fathers skill of translating, earned him a job as a translator in a lumber yard, working when he was eleven years old. The skill was worthy enough to earn a living, for not only himself, but to provide food for his family in the 1970’s, up until he quit the job after three years of alright pay.

This change of tactical need for literacy changing is what made both Brandts accumulation of literacy and sponsorship of literacy clear for me to see. As well as how much our own teaching practices, shape these trade routes that Bradnt speaks of. Through the development of our work, that address economic factors, as I already brought attention to before, Bradnt tells us something similar that James Paul Gee tells us, that we constitute how a learner develops, through each element of the world we ask learners to participate in. Too often these worlds that we sponsor, hinder identity more than inspire identity to grow individually, because of literacy’s’ competitive nature.

What Ive taken away from the make hack play article group more than anything, was that when literacies are given as playful tools, rather than working tools, the creations are more beneficial, and more creative, as well as more individually useful to discussion.

Above of all of this, I also remind myself of what Kim said in the very first week of the course if I remember correctly, that a child behaves a head on top of himself when they are at play. This is defended by the workings of maker culture. Also that could be a way to explain just how important the teaching of literacy is to our individual and communal growth. If we wish to expand literacy, with a literacy that is threaded into economic success, the expression of failure makes most literacy, out-side of study- literacy as high risk learning, and therefore semi permeable forms of expression, that continue to hinder literacy in all of its forms, if they are not changed, by the sponsors themselves, to suit the learner.

 

Final Reflection: DONE

Final Reflection: DONE

It is that time of the year to reflect on what I have received from this class as a whole throughout the semester. So a few things I would like to share that I learned about literacy and teaching include literacy between technology, adolescence, gaming, and making.

             Literacy is often known has the ability to read and write. However, throughout this course I have encounter many different ideas and perspectives on how to view literacy and I know that there is not just one definition to literacy. This class has expanded my knowledge by allowing me to explore these different methods.

             To start of with, technology and literacy. We often believe that technology is taking away our ability to read and write. On the other hand, we also see that the technology is giving us other opportunities to read and express ourselves. What I have learned from this class, that I will not forget is that technology is a form of literacy and that it is an addition to our literacy definition. Teenagers are stuck in the world of Instagram, twitter, Facebook, tumblr, etc. and not knowing that they are also revolving in the world of literacy. Just because it is not physically on a paper or with a writing utensils, teens are expressing themselves just in a different format.

              Next stop, adolescence and literacy. I really enjoyed the article groups and book club that allowed me to go in deep details with this topic. Especially, because it gave me different perspectives and ideas from my classmates as we worked on our powerpoint for the article group. Reading our articles independently and then coming together and sharing what we each grabbed from the reading was beneficial because it gave us an idea of the main focus in our topic. The book club was my favorite assignment because it included a video that was entertaining and at the same time it wrapped up on what we got from the book. It was a great way to get to the point in a small amount of time.

               Once again, my favorite connection is gaming and literacy. As a future teacher this was the most helpful and extremely beneficial to me. I am honestly not a video gamer but I  have played before and I never got the thrill of playing it. That is why I cannot believe how much my perspective has changed. I know view gaming as an opportunity to gain new ideas and different ways to start all over. Failure is not a negative thing but rather something that has been seen positive.

              Lastly, making and literacy has given me ways of exploring different ideas with different scenarios. Working with a group or team is helpful because you gather ideas that you have not thought about or even imagined. I really enjoyed ignite and maker night because it was very engaging to listen to the speakers different views and connecting to their way of viewing their topic.

As a future teacher, I mentioned that the idea of failure is essentially important in my opinion, simply because I would want my students to know that they should not be afraid to fail. They should be aware that it can open new ideas for them especially if they decide to start all over instead of giving up on their first time. Overall, I am pleased with my decision of taking this course this semester because I was able to explore literacy with a great group of students and of course with the help of Kim. I believe that teachers are suppose to be a guide to the students that offer and supply resources for them. I was able to see this process at first hand throughout the course. Furthermore, giving us the opportunity to make decisions from choosing our own groups to blogging in our own style was a way of allowing us to use the resources supplied by Kim. 

Last Post

Last Post

We have read quite a bit about literacy learning and teaching. We looked through many articles, conducted interviews, and read books. After all this consideration, my beliefs about literacy and learning have changed. I believe all people are literate to some extent in various subjects. This conclusion is drawn in part from the Szwed piece which showed how we are not seeing a decline of literacy. Szwed did a good job at questioning the decline of literacy. However, I think he could possibly take a more challenging stance and say literacy cannot decline in a first world nation. However, before you can agree with that claim, you’ve got to understand how this class got me thinking about what literacy is.

Literacy cannot decline in our society because literacy is the glue that holds our society together. Maybe that seems like a stretch, but remember, Hamilton called a literacy events “any occasion in which a piece of writing is integral to the nature of participants interactions and their interpretive processes.”  In other words, this quote means: if reading words is an important step, then that step is a literacy event. We can all see how reading is so inextricably tied into every aspect of life. People are always reading manuals, instructions, social media, and directions. It just seems that there are too many literacy events occurring in daily life for literacy to ever decline. Maybe the way literacy manifests itself can change through remixes. These remixes are transformations, not destruction.

Now, we have discussed how  manifestations and expressions of literacy are transforming as changes in culture and technological advancements extend the affordances of both authorship and reading to more people for use in a growing number of contexts. That’s a pretty big takeaway from this class. But, in this blog, I want to put more stress on what I have come to believe about literacies place in society. I think literacy has a permanent place in society as each person’s tool for the multitude of interfaces that call for reading and writing at this point in history. I’ve learned that literacy is probably only going to spread because it’s useful for any subject that involves using language.

Obviously literacy is everywhere and commonplace in our country. Who would disagree? This is why, as a future teacher, I’m not only aiming to increase the students literacy. I’d like to do more. I’d like to look into authorship and creativity and see how to teach those skills to students. I’ll also like to see how to teach and learn the tendencies and common practices of masterful authors in specific genres. I would focus on genres rather than an entire language( the way students can take four years of English now in high school.) To be honest, my Ideal teaching environment would be about communities of practice rather than a few months of speeches, discussions, and assignments. We have looked at literacy in so many contexts this semester. We’ve looked at games, music, and academics. I think instructors can impact a student’s literacy in a most positive way by having a narrow and clear focus.

 

Super creative title

Super creative title

Literacy. A word that didn’t really have any meaning to me at the beginning of the semester, but now I have spent 3 months reading, discussing, and writing about this word. So, now I write this final blog post and I ask myself, “What have I learned?”

I think that what I have learned the most about literacy is that it is ALWAYS changing, and that it isn’t the same for everyone. The way that literacy actually piles up is really interesting and would be awesome to discover all of the ways this happens with my generation. I feel like we are a transition between what used to be, and what needs to be. Also, in the Hamilton article, there is a passage that talks about the many different “artefacts” that are involved with literacy. One of these mentioned is a computer, which she describes as a writing tool. Hamilton also states, “We began by thinking in terms of activities as simply reading and writing, but a very large number of newspaper images involve people displaying, holding, inspecting, possessing or giving, discussing and disputing written texts of various sorts.” Thinking about a computer as an artefact, I now realize that photos aren’t necessary to document people sharing written texts because we now have the internet. Computers allow us to share information instantly, research something immediately, and read/write whenever we get the chance. I recall the story that you shared with us about the elementary students who were using google docs to read each other’s stories, and to share a joint document between all of them. How amazing is that! What teacher would want to limit the ideas and the possibilities that computers and technology can bring to education? I have one professor this semester who completely despises the use of any electronics in her classroom. When I read the syllabus at the beginning of the semester I was completely put off with the idea. I had to buy a course pack of short stories that I could have easily found online. I think that as a future teacher there needs to be a way to implement technology into every classroom because it is a literacy that is evolving and becoming prominent everywhere.

My book club text “Just Girls” made me continuously question how different the study would have turned out if it was done today. The use of computers and social media drastically effects adolescents today and changes the way they view literacy. How much does the need to get Instagram likes and twitter retweets change the way they read and write? Do they text each other in class instead of write notes? Are they checking Instagram for the latest fashion and gossip instead of reading magazines? There are so many ways that the book is “outdated”, but at the same time I was able to relate to everything, which brings me back to the idea of my generation being an awkward transition. We are so open to these new technologies and ways of literacy, but we also can remember when we used to pass notes and check books out from the library.

This class has been so much fun, and I can easily say that it was my favorite this semester! I really enjoy your teaching Kim, and all of the group work that we did. I can’t wait to be in another class of yours next semester!

 

“Feed the Elephant, Don’t Weigh It”

“Feed the Elephant, Don’t Weigh It”

Fall 2013 Early British Literature.  A book in my hand that we later learned to call “The Brick” and a small room filled with less than twenty students. Almost all of them Berkeley bound kids with stiff backs and the latest vegan craze stinking up the classroom. Well it wasn’t their food that stank that the classroom, it was their attitudes.

 

You read what over the summer?

I just finished reading Jane Eyre and all of Jane Austen’s novels.

Oh, interesting but I don’t think that’s sophisticated enough for me.

I can’t text like that. I have to write grammatically correct or I’ll go insane. Texting is really messing with writing and makes everyone sound stupid.  

Tablets and computers will never be equivalent to a book when it comes to learning.

I’m so embarrassed that I’m apart of this generation.

 

So how do you survive two years of literacy bullying? You pretend to be like them so they don’t leave you out of discussions or judge you about the things you prefer to read.  Professors stood behind the students and secretly judged those who pulled out a laptop or started to fall asleep during their two hour monotone lecture. So in the next two years it was slowly instilled into me that literacy came only in the form of a twentieth century or earlier novel. Literacy only came from reading and writing tiny print on a white piece of paper.

 

Fall 2015 Introduction to Literacy Studies. Thank you Kim Jaxon for teaching me that for once they weren’t completely right.

 

In a weird backwards world the nerd girls had become the “social queens” and I had become the outcast “tough cookie.” My parents taught me to read whatever I had wanted as long as I read. So for the longest time I grew up thinking that reading was reading. Everything and anything was good enough (except for Twilight because let’s be honest). Of course I couldn’t see that my idea of literacy and their idea of literacy had been molded by our sponsors. Deborah Brandt and Margaret Finders really made it clear to me. So while both my parents, who wouldn’t call themselves readers, encouraged my literacy by letting me read anything from Vogue, National Geographic, Harry Potter, and Goosebumps; their well educated parents pushed a different genre of literacy on them.

 

I look at my grandmother, myself, my sister, and my cousin. One writes letters with carefully written cursive, one texts, one blogs, and one tweets.

 

My point? My point is that we are all different, we all communicate differently. The way we communicate is greatly influenced by the world around us. Time has become a sponsor of our literacy without us even knowing it has. When something important needs to be said my grandmother will write long letters taking almost two pages to express how upset she feels about a situation. My 16 year old sister will write a two paragraph blog with relevant gifs on Tumblr about how annoyed she is with her school’s dress code. My 11 year old cousin will tweet out in less than 140 characters and tags about how excited she is to be going on a field trip to the Exploratorium. And I’ll simply text the only three people I actually care to talk with emoticons and abbreviated words. My grandmother didn’t have a cell phone or social media to express her concerns. She had some stationary and a pen. I grew up when cellphones were just becoming apart of everyone’s life. My sister and cousin grew up with social media being an influence on everyone’s life.

The time we grow in up not only influences the way we communicate but also sponsors our literacy. We might all have the same concerns but we are going to communicate them differently. One’s not better than the other and one form should not be valued over the other.

So if I decide that I want to become a teacher, I want students to understand that what you read, how you communicate, how you learn and understand can never be limited to one way. No one has made me see how important this until I arrived to Room 442 where certain interesting and exceptional beings blew my mind away.