Literacy Archive

Results in BLC Posts

Lecture by R. Kern, April 15, 2016

Rick Kern, UC Berkeley Technologies and Literacies and Language Education: Looking beyond communicative competence Since the origins of writing, technology has always given people new ways to use and learn languages. This talk will present examples of some ways that digital technologies are currently shaping language and literacy practices in multilingual contexts. These changes raise…

Thinking about Writing: The challenge of writing assignments at the intermediate French language level

My project addresses issues with composition in the second-year French language program. In response to concerns voiced in surveys by students and instructors, I designed four units and suggested lesson plans. The first provides color-coding analysis of sample essays, allowing students to visualize and parse the elements of an essay. The second unit walks the…

Results in L2 Journal Articles

Introduction to the Special Issue on Living Literacies

This special volume on “Living Literacies” is an addendum to an existing body of work in L2 education that has amassed over the past few decades, which makes a collective case that literacy ought to be a central pedagogical objective for language and culture curricula. This has been a particularly predominant discourse in collegiate foreign language teaching, where the calls for a paradigm shift are often directly coupled with critiques of the bifurcated curricular models that have long shaped foreign language departments (e.g., Allen & Paesani, 2010; Kern, 2000, 2003), though interest in L2 literacy over the past couple of decades has also been associated with broader discussions around ...

Unraveling the Affordances of ‘Silas Marner’ in a Japanese University EFL Context

Graded readers, simplified versions of literature and other texts at graduated levels of difficulty, are widely employed in contexts of foreign language pedagogy and are widely considered to be a form of written-language input ostensibly suitable for a wide array of developmental stages. However, the efficacy of graded readers is not unchallenged, among which criticisms is that the language in a graded work of literature is, by nature, aesthetically inert and inauthentic, in comparison to the original. Still, from an L2 literacies-development perspective, could one not justifiably accept that aesthetic impoverishment and inauthenticity are reasonable, perhaps also unavoidable, compromises? Practically, what, for example, could a typical intermediate-level ...

Literacy-based Curricula in University Foreign Language Instruction: Perceptions from Non-Tenure-Track Faculty

Recent scholarship has underscored the need for a new paradigm in university foreign language programs and put forward literacy as a necessary curricular goal (e.g., Byrnes, Maxim, & Norris, 2010; Kern, 2000; Paesani, Allen, & Dupuy, 2016; Swaffar & Arens, 2005). In light of the high percentage of courses they teach, non-tenure-track faculty (NTTF) are instrumental to implementing new curricular paradigms. As such, knowing how they understand literacy and its role in foreign language education is essential to advancing the implementation of literacy-based pedagogies. This study reports on how non- tenure-track faculty conceptualized literacy during a 2.5 month Professional Learning Circle (PLC). Sociocultural and cognitive dimensions of literacy dominated the ways in which participants conceptualized literacy and its associated pedagogies; linguistic dimensions were backgrounded. Findings suggest that ...

Developing Academic Literacy and Researchers’ Identities: The Case of Multilingual Graduate Students

A growing number of bilingual and multilingual national and international students are enrolling in graduate programs in the United States, creating an urgent need to understand how these writers build knowledge of unfamiliar academic genres and become part of their disciplinary academic communities (Selony, 2014). Such students struggle with specific-to-the-discipline composition of written texts, exerting their agency in new academic tasks, and research identity issues. Following an activity theory framework, this case study investigates how three graduate students with diverse educational, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds (Spanish as L1, L2, and heritage language and English as L1, L2, and dominant language) experienced these processes and overcame obstacles by examining ...

Against the Odds: Literacy Sponsorship in One Migrant Student’s Trajectory to College

Ivan (pseudonym), the son of Mexican migrant farmworkers, rarely spent more than six months in the same school and by high school was still classified as an English language learner. This article traces Ivan’s experiences as a language learner and writer, telling his story in his own words through his writing and ethnographic data collected during his junior year of high school and his first year of college. I examine how literacy sponsors (Brandt, 2001) helped or impeded his reading and writing as he worked to change his life. Through Ivan’s writing and oral reflections, I argue that rather than solely supporting their reading and writing development, literacy sponsors for immigrant second language writers support learners as a whole. Central to Ivan’s evaluation of his literacy sponsors is the role of caring relationships—or lack thereof—that endured longer than the technical literacy skills he learned from any one sponsor.

Teaching Strategies to Develop Inquiry and Literacy Skills: Languaging in Foreign Language Immersion Education

One-way, or foreign language, immersion schools face unique challenges as they seek to support the literacy development of their students. This manuscript draws on sociocultural theories of literacy development and the concept of languaging, the process of using language to make meaning. Working with two classrooms over one semester, we asked: How were fifth-grade students using language to make meaning and develop new skills during literacy activities? Where and when did students apply their learning? Teaching the strategies in English, the authors posit, provided students with moments ...

Introduction to the Special Issue

The premise of this publication and collective exploration is that through literacy, and in particular L2 writing, personal phenomenological experience can be reflectively inspected, explicated and presented for interpretation by others and as such can be used as an important resource within the language classroom...

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