ML2 – Second Language Literacies

A blog for the Second Language Literacies course from the MA in Learning and Teaching Processes in Second Languages (ML2) at UPB-Medellín

What Will New Literacy Classrooms in Colombia look like in the Near Future? By Adriana Rozo and Shirley Correa

Historical Development of Literacy

 

Throughout the history of human beings, it has been proved that language continuously evolves. In the same way, literacy has evolved in terms of its translations, meanings, and practices.  The field of literacy has always been multidisciplinary since it entails diverse historical, epistemological, anthropological, hermeneutical, and linguistic studies as well as deep critical reflection and research on learning and teaching processes for over 40 years.  Nevertheless, the term is not fully recognized in Latin America (Cassany & Castellà, 2010); because it has been translated into different ways (alfabetización/alfabetismo, lectoescritura, and literacidad.   However, the translation is not the big issue for literacy’s awareness. According to UNESCO (2006), people’s notions of what it means to be literate or illiterate are influenced by academic research, institutional agendas, national context, cultural values, and personal experiences. The following video shows some UPB Professors’ reflections on literacy

Teachers’ insights on literacy

 

As observed in the video, some teachers have an idea of what literacy is and what it tackles; for instance, Professor Gustavo Quintero states: “I consider literacy as the critical capacity, as the competencies that a human being has, not only to read and write but to make reflection processes, hermeneutical processes, deontological processes”.  In addition, Professor Quintero affirms that the fact of reading and writing is already a proposal that frames a clear differentiation from the other species.  However, Quintero recognizes that there are technological resources to foster reading and writing processes but they have been misused.”   For Professor Monica Gómez, “Literacy is the ability to read and write not only papers and documents; but reading the world, having insights and understanding culture, etc. Undoubtedly, people nowadays read and write different from people in the past”.  According to Quintero and Gómez, technology plays a crucial role in the way we read and write today.

 

Professor Martha Caballero asserts: “Literacy is one of the terms that are difficult to define because there is a lot involved. Basically I think it is the ability that a human being has to understand, decode, use the means that the human beings have created to communicate among each other.”  Professor Caballero also thinks that technology facilitates the writing process.  Interestingly, the other professors interviewed do not seem to have a clear picture of literacy due to the lack of awareness about it in the educational institutions where they have studied or worked, or just because there might not be a world consensus on literacy.   Even UNESCO (1970) states: “At first glance, ‘literacy’ would seem to be a term that everyone understands. But at the same time, as a concept has proved to be both complex and dynamic, continuing to be interpreted and defined in a multiplicity of ways.

 

Using UNESCO’s terms for literacy (Alfabetismo / Alfabetización in Spanish), it is first defined as is defined as the ability to both read and write, with understanding, a simple statement related to one’s everyday life.  For Freire (1970), taking reading and writing processes to work limits the processes of agency that can arise from there.  In the same way, Alfabetismo / Alfabetización for Latin America and Africa  is seen aspedagogical practices for teaching reading and writing to adults.  Then, the term lectoescritura emerged as Mora (2012) stated in his study on literacy and language learning.  The term literacy seen as lectoescritura in Spanish was supposed to be broader; yet, limited in the scope as it recognizes just the literate work around the school, not outside it.  What is more, lectoescritura has not validated the new media and technological mediations (Cope & Kalantzis, 2007) and effectively respond to the new realities that technology presents (Mora, 2011, a).  However, UNESCO entails in its “Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2006” , a new eye on literacy that includes new definitions of literacy opposed to what it traditionally tackled; “A literate person is one who can, with understanding, both read and write a short, simple statement on his or her everyday life.”  In this sense, according to the UNESCO report, Action Aid’s Reflect Programme (Regenerated Freirean Literacy through Empowering Community Techniques) has had a considerable influence on the literacy policies and practices of NGOs around the world.

 

The Reflect’s manual states: “Literacy is no longer seen as a simple skill or competency but as a process. It is more than just the technology by which we presently know it (whether pen, paper, computer, etc.) Freire provides a social, political and economic analysis of the processes which affect people’s knowledge and beliefs (forming their ‘consciousness’ of their situation). For Freire, no educational or developmental process can be neutral” (Archer and Cottingham, 1996a).  Including the Freirean discourse for the notion of literacy implies better understanding and accomplishment of an agenda of it.  The most relevant issue to understand the latest term literacy (Literacidad in Spanish) is to take into consideration three realities (Mora 2012): the social reality (Hull & Schultz, 2011), the school reality (Cope  & Kalantzis, 2009) and the technological reality (Mora, 2011 a).  Some of the Professors interviewed at UPB Bucaramanga agree on the existence of a technological reality in literacy practices and experts in literacy keep asserting there is an unbreakable relationship between literacy and the comprehension of the world by means of language used as a vehicle for meaning construction. In the words of Álvarez (2009), “Literacy has to do with the understanding of social phenomena and their relation to language.”

 

A more recent and comprehensive definition of literacy has been provided by Mora (Mora Velez, 2010, p.1; Mora, 2012) and it claims:  “Literacy is all about interpreting and creating texts using multiple means and media involving technology, multiple languages and diverse aesthetic forms of expression, in addition to the written and spoken word.”

 

Books

 

Literacy in the National and Local Contexts

Despite notorious efforts to get to a deep understanding of literacy and its implications on democracy, social equity, knowledge construction and multiculturality, Colombia continues to perceive literacy in terms of reading and writing only, that is, in terms of alphabetism. In consequence, when analyzing statistics on the number of Colombian citizens who are “still illiterate” in the 21st century, governmental and educational institutions tend to focus their attention on the different types of marginalization suffered the citizens who have not received elementary academic instruction aimed at learning to read and write in Spanish, which is the official language of this country.  Hence, the analysis of this issue usually explores the impossibility to access formal education, the difficulty to get well-paid jobs, and the direct affectation to the national technological development. Such traditional perspectives on the consequences of illiteracy in Colombia can be seen in this video:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsDZMYuKUu4

 

 UNESCO published in 2013 an analysis of an Integral School Literacy Program in Colombia in which they estimated other disadvantages of being illiterate. Such an analysis started with the following contention: “Citizens who are illiterate or have not completed their basic education face diverse difficulties and disadvantages which leave them unable to participate actively in society. In the Colombian communities of Soacha, people face health problems, unemployment and are served by only a small number of projects aimed at improving quality of life, social harmony and active citizenship. Due to the complexity of their situation, the inhabitants are hindered from taking up social, economic, cultural and political opportunities and remain living in difficult conditions linked to armed conflict, drug consumption, domestic violence, premature births and lack of a life plan. Faced with a dramatically increasing population, educational provisions in Colombia additionally need to serve an ever-growing number of citizens putting a strain on the capacity of the existing services.”

 

Illiteracy is intended to be eradicated through governmental initiatives frequently resulting in literacy campaigns (called “Campañas de Alfabetización) which are usually led by the Ministry of Education in cooperation with some private institutions.  Such campaigns are responsible for teaching “illiterate Colombians” to read and write in Spanish thanks to instructional materials which are grounded on the notion of “Lecto-escritura” for the construction of competencies.  The image is an example of this type of initiatives.

 

Clasa Iniciación a las lECTO ESCRITURA 2012 100 nuevo

     Thus, it can be said that the most commonly spread notion of literacy is situated in the educational milieu in which a person’s capacities are measured according to the results he has reached through his school years.   In this sense, the social capital of an individual as well as the skills he has developed somehow, either empirically or thanks to non-academic types of training, are not fully appreciated, and so the stigma of being “illiterate” remains no matter how wise, capable and socially participative may be.  Bartlett et al (2011) assert: “The literacy and cultural practices that youth engage within their daily lives remain ignored in educational institutions. As a result, in general, schools maintain delimited and too often irrelevant definitions of literacy, and view their students from a deficit stance.”  The photograph below shows a perception of courage and commitment in relation with the defeat of poverty through education.

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This year the results of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) test placed Colombia at the bottom of the world ranking as for problem-solving in the areas of reading, math and science. Of course, asserting that Colombian high school students are some of the worst problem-solvers worldwide has triggered numerous critiques to the educational system which is accused of inefficacy and ineffectiveness.  Furthermore, other potential causes of such bad results have been debated, being the lack of meaningful relationship between real-life challenges and school curricula one of the most remarked.  However, scholars and education analysts consider that, to some extent, the scores obtained in this test also reflect socioeconomic status since higher-income students usually do better, especially in reading and science.  Such a statement implies that learners who count on a greater access to resources are empowered with opportunities to develop better learning processes both inside and outside their school than those living in an underprivileged setting.  On the other hand, the publication of PISA results has also led to a reflection on the role of education in Colombians people’ life, which suggests the academia is not as relevant to citizens in this country as it is expected to be.  The image below shows a sarcastic perspective point of view in reference to PISA results.

 

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Fortunately, in the past years some Colombian educational institutions and also some groups of scholars have committed to the improvement of reading and writing practices through research studies, academic events and professional networks aiming at exploring new literacies and their relationship with other dimensions of learning.  As a result, nowadays the view of reading and writing is starting to transcend the boundaries of alphabetism in relation with conventional forms of the language which may somehow represent constraint to creativity, innovation and advancement.  The pictures below are samples of initiatives to foster new literacies in the Colombian setting.

 

banner_simposio    REDLEES-y-ASCUN

 

Moreover, school teachers have also decided to transform literacy practices by restructuring curricula through a renewal of subjects, and also through the implementation of meaningful tasks and projects which not only bring real life to the classroom but also highlight the unbreakable relationship of knowledge with humaneness.  What can be seen nowadays in many schools and universities is no longer the set in motion of pedagogic practices for the sake of student comprehension of formal contents, but also an attempt to raise social and environmental awareness.

 

Students are nowadays more involved in the exercise of social critique regarding sensitive topics such as corruption, discrimination, the environmental crisis, human rights and so on.  Here are some images that connote the insertion of critical literacy in many Colombian pedagogic practices these days through multimodality (visual, written, oral, gestural, spatial, audio and tactile modes).

 

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Cartoon - Social problems

 

From Literacy to New Literacies

Undoubtedly, the role of the language in the strengthening of critical thinking and social awareness has been paramount since it allows individuals to speak their minds regarding ongoing events which have an impact on their lives.  Historically, language has served as a pillar for both discourse and counter-discourse on sociocultural and political facts that citizens intend to support or to confront, based on their perspective of reality and enlightened by their social capital.  In the same way critical thinking concerns with social inaccuracies and falsehoods that tie down freedom, critical pedagogy controverts social inequity through education whose power is used by individuals to emancipate and construct a more equitable society. As Freire (1985) stated: “The goal of critical pedagogy has been variously described in terms of resistance, emancipation or reclaiming power by creating new spaces for dialogue. From this perspective, language, seen as central to the social construction of knowledge and consequently to how power circulates, is a prime site for the enactment of dominant discourses.”

 

The Freirean proposal is based on the conception of education as a key to lead under-privileged citizens, in particular the “illiterate ones”, towards social awareness, self-confidence and collective relatedness for the sake of a better society.   From a critical pedagogy perspective, illiteracy may be considered as one of the main causes of social powerlessness which results in inequity, discrimination, and oppression. Therefore, educating the people through literacy means fostering social agency and involvement in the light of collective dialogue as a tool to mediate and reach fair agreements concerning the solution of social problems.  Burbules and Berks’ interpretation of Freire’s attempt to fight illiteracy is explained in the following fragment taken from one of their papers: “To be illiterate, for Freire, was not only to lack the skills of reading and writing; it was to feel powerless and dependent in a much more general way as well. The challenge to an adult literacy campaign was not only to provide skills, but to address directly the self-contempt and sense of powerlessness that he believed accompanied illiteracy (Freire 1970b).” The following video illustrates the consequences of illiteracy in our societies, according to the proposals of authors like Paulo Freire:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfQEC029caw

As the premises of Critical Pedagogy have evolved through time, the relationship between education and social agency has been strengthened not only in the educational milieu but also in more global scenarios.  Nowadays, education is conceived as a major foundation of human development, which makes it possible to confront debate and solve problematic issues in a wiser way thanks to the values, principles and skills that it fosters.  In consequence, educational policies are often debated and reformulated by governmental authorities in an attempt to incorporate new elements and strategies that contribute to more efficient learning processes. As a result, it is expected to empower citizens to participate actively in their communities so that they can serve as productive agents who are able not only to improve their own standard of living but also their socioeconomic background.

 

Nevertheless, a potential risk of establishing a strong relationship between education and socioeconomic growth, and in particular between literacy and socioeconomic growth, is simply the shaping of education in utilitarian terms, that is, as a tool to make citizens be more productive and useful for the regional and even for the national economy of a country. This risk leads us to question the comprehension of literacy in our times; literacy not truly seen as a bridge towards social meaning making and a better understanding of reality; but literacy seen as a mere skill which allows individuals to be more prolific and efficient.

 

That is why a critical approximation to literacy in the 21st century must necessarily be the source of reflection and debate with respect to complex problems such as injustice, discrimination, poverty and the violation of human rights, among others. However, such an approximation depends on the particularities of each community or social group due to the fact that the extent to which it has developed and the social capital it counts on both have an undeniable influence on the way its citizens read and live their own reality, as well as their perception of other cultures.  With respect to this issue, Durnkerly (2013) states: “Literacy is a human right, a tool of personal empowerment and a means to social, cultural, and human development. Yet the nature and use of literacy, for whom, under which circumstances, and for what purposes is a contentious question that depends greatly on the social views, cultural capital, politics, and temporality of both its teachers, students, and the communities of discourse in which they participate.”

 

On the other hand, living in the digital era poses a wide number of challenges to literacy educators simply because reality nowadays is no longer read, decoded and built through conventional forms of language, but also through a complex cumulus of modes born from the media and technology.  In consequence, the concept of literacy has evolved in “new literacies” which are permeated by new forms of human relatedness, communication and development, all deeply influenced by television, the internet, and ICTs.  Having the possibility to see the world through a screen allows individuals to make meanings about the facts; but not merely about ongoing facts but also about past and future events.

 

However, regardless of the numerous advantages provided by that great access to information through technology, people definitely need to count on well-grounded criteria for the selection, processing and interpretation of data in order to have a fair comprehension of events and their impact on the world’s socio-historical, cultural, political and economical change.  In addition, being digitally literate may be more successful in certain fields and tasks demanding the proper use of information shared and processed through the internet and other ICTs forms.  Individuals, groups, and societies who can identify information the fastest, critically evaluate information most effectively, synthesize information most appropriately to develop best solutions, and then communicate these solutions to others most  clearly will succeed in the challenging times that await us (Leu et al, 2011).

 

One of the greatest contributions of the internet to humankind has been the possibility to shorten distances and explore the world in a wide number of ways.  More than ever before men count on tools to easily have an insight on different settings and cultures, either similar or different from their own.  Therefore, this century is experiencing a multicultural phenomenon which is at first sight positive in terms of cultural dialogue and interaction as well as in terms of learning, economic expansion and knowledge construction.  Nevertheless, being the media, the internet and ICTs public spaces for human interaction, one of the dangers of such overture to the world is the loss of social and identity, especially in the youngest generations which are daily exposed to the influence of foreign models ranging from fashion to cultural codes.  In this sense, instead of facilitating the comprehension and consolidation of one’s social identity, digital and media literacy may serve as tools to adjust own cultural patterns in the light of foreign ones. Undoubtedly, new literacies have to do with the capacity to contrast one’s reality to the one lived by other individuals around the world in the light of critical thinking and social awareness.  But running the risk of recognizing cultural differences through new literacies, especially through digital literacy, may result in the construction of shallow meanings of culture.  According to Siapera (2006), “The first dilemma concerns the contradiction between the desire to acknowledge difference and the potential negative results of such an acknowledgement, including the reification and essentializing of identities.”

 

Educating citizens to benefit from digital and media resources for the sake of both wise multicultural relatedness and cultural awareness consolidation requires proper teaching and learning strategies in the core of the academia, as well as properly designed training processes in other social scenarios related to work, business, the arts, etc. New literacies have to do with a participatory culture in which citizens from different cultural settings have the chance to speak their minds and be taken into account.  But there is a risk of ending by marginalizing the people who are not literate in this field either because of their lack of digital resources or because of their impossibility to be part of proper training which enables them to become digitally literate. On the other hand, it is important to take into consideration that more conventional forms of literacy based on oral and written modes also foster multiculturality and make it possible to read the world in multiple ways.  However, the immediacy of the internet facilitates both interaction and meaning making which imply moving from a monodimensional level to a multidimensional one where high-order skills are essential.   The next video presents an insight on media literacy awareness:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HXmawarM0w

Fostering Literacy in Everyday Pedagogic

Classrooms in the future

The challenge for education is huge but literacy seems to have an answer. Our classrooms will be a center of literate citizens in which new literacies based on technology, meaning making, multimodality and bilingualism will be fostered as a corner stone of the pedagogical practices.

The following video demonstrates the needs for literacy strategies around the world:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JtnOQ4tkSM

Regarding Literate citizens

This proposal suggests the implementation of a literacy culture in Colombia bearing in mind that becoming literate is making oneself cognitively different, think creatively, regarding knowledge always as cultural and ideological.  Undoubtedly, literacy should be considered as a paramount field of study in our Colombian education system due to its many implications on society.  Therefore, it must be present in all education programs and in any field of knowledge.  According to Dehaene (2013), “Few issues are as important to the future of humanity as acquiring literacy.”  In a very close future every citizen should understand, learn, acquire, and practice literacy. In this sense, Colombian Teacher Education Programs and Social Communication curricula should include literacy as a field of study that goes beyond mere reading and writing with economic purposes.  Examples of literate people such as García Márquez, should be taken into account in curricula.  The interview below shows how our Nobel Prize started his writing process.

 

INTERVIEWER:  How did you start writing?

 

GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ:  By drawing.  By drawing cartoons. Before I could read or write I used to draw comics at school and at home. The funny thing is that I now realize that when I was in high school I had the reputation of being a writer, though I never in fact wrote anything. If there was a pamphlet to be written or a letter of petition, I was the one to do it because I was supposedly the writer. When I entered college I happened to have a very good literary background in general, considerably above the average of my friends. At the university in Bogotá, I started making new friends and acquaintances, who introduced me to contemporary writers. One night a friend lent me a book of short stories by Franz Kafka. I went back to the pension where I was staying and began to read The Metamorphosis. The first line almost knocked me off the bed. I was so surprised. The first line reads, “As GregorSamsa awoke that morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. . . .” When I read the line I thought to myself that I didn’t know anyone was allowed to write things like that. If I had known, I would have started writing a long time ago. So I immediately started writing short stories. They are totally intellectual short stories because I was writing them on the basis of my literary experience and had not yet found the link between literature and life. The stories were published in the literary supplement of the newspaper El Espectador in Bogotá and they did have a certain success at the time—probably because nobody in Colombia was writing intellectual short stories. What was being written then was mostly about life in the countryside and social life.

 

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Regarding technology

According to Horton (2011) the future classrooms may have e-learning design, virtual laboratory activities, games and simulations for learning, mobile learning, standalone e-learning.  The most essential feature is of technology is design.  Teachers and even students will have to become experts of design since it guarantees to focus on core work such as specific context and students’ needs, updated information, latest trends of education, and more importantly, the use of technology will keep on changing and innovating the way we read or write.

 

The foundation of this proposal is the inclusion of technology in the l2 curriculum.  Blake (2008) advocates technology in the l2 curriculum “by stressing certain pedagogical threads that should guide the integration of technology into the FL curriculum”. It is necessary to foster Blake’s threads as follows:

•Multiple technological entry points (web pages and exercises, CALL applications, CD-ROMs/DVDs, CMC, hybrid courses, DL courses)

• Emphasis on how new technologies are used in support of a given theory of SLA, not on what specific tool is being used

• Student-centered classrooms

• Interactivity, agency, and students as (co-) producers of technologically enhanced materials

This is a colossal agenda that will support multimodality which is a fundamental component of literacy.   The following video supports the need for a digital media curriculum that incorporates new literacies for this digital age.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKlJOxwyMWU

Regarding meaning making

The idea is to promote the creation of texts based on movieanalysis, something similar to what Monte Mór did with Reading Dogville in Brazil: Image, Language and Critical Literacy.  The proposal is to make meaning from what is not notorious by the students, making them reflect beyond the obvious.  According to Carriere (1995) –cited by Monte Mór- “the image in art-house cinema has developed more than in any of the other media, and attributes this to the director’s desire to elicit a particular reaction from the viewer. Film directors constantly seek new visual languages to provoke viewers to develop new means of reading, interpreting and interacting with images.”

 

Not necessarily to wait for the future to do this kind of literacy practices.  A group of English 4 students at UPB Bucaramanga belonging to different academic programs such as Civil Engineering, Psychology, Social Communication and Industrial Engineering developed a workshop to introduce (starting from scratch as it had been the first time they had contact with the word) what literacy might mean for them.  The context taken was the movie “The Book Thief” (2013) inspired in the work of Marcus Zusak (2005).  This film is about the Holocaust, nevertheless the analysis was not made as students expected, that was, to highlight the crimes of the Nazis and sufferings of the Jews. On the contrary, the core analysis was based on literacy itself.

 

           The students, in teams of three of four, briefly analyzed a question related to the sentence “Just because I can’t read doesn’t mean I’m stupid” uttered by Liesel Meminger (the main character of the movie).  In a short reflection, the students mentioned a very important issue regarding literacy by arguing against judging people for being illiterate.  They justified being illiterate (in the sense of not attending school or university to learn) because of the lack of possibilities and maybe tough luck.

IMG-20140428-00311

Opposed to this first group’s analysis, there is evidence that in Colombia there have been great minds succeeding in different areas of knowledge or society without having resources or formally taking classes.  For example, former President Marco Fidel Suárez became one of the greatest Colombian philologists even though his economic situations, family background apparently did not favor any kind of literacy and learning process.  Disappointingly or surprisingly, like it or not, neither school nor university necessarily guarantee personal, academic, social or economic growth.   Similarly, Nieto (2013) states: “Given my background and early life experiences, it seems improbable that I would be an academic discussing literacy and learning. Conventional educational research would assume that my home and family situation could not have prepared me adequately for academic success.”  Even the Colombian Nobel Prize in Literature 1982, Gabriel García Márquez, did not finish his university studies but it was not a hurdle to be such a remarkable literate person.   For Nieto (2013), “It would be easy to throw up our hands and say that education is too full of contradictions, that it preaches what it cannot deliver, that it’s a utopian dream. Yes, all these things may be true. Yet, it is a teacher’s responsibility to remain hopeful in spite of all these things.” Another group of studentscorroborate this idea by getting to the following insights on “The Book Thief”.

 

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A final writing from another group was about describing Liesel’s reading and writing process.  The students wrote that she learned by watching and writing words many times. They also highlighted the fact that Liesel read a lot to be able to write.

 

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Regarding Bilingualism 

Pursuit a quest for bilingualism is crucial in the literacy agenda.  According to Augusto Martinez Carreño,  Executive Director of Comisión Regional de Competitividad, “Santander Competitivo is a joint space between the corporate sector, academia, and the government, along with its institutions, to support projects that will improve the regional competitiveness.” Within the competitive program, one of the strategic plans was to promote a bilingualism program. That is the reason for the creation of Mesa Integrada de Bilingüismo de Santander – MIBIS.  The interest inbilingualism in Santander has been remarkable; different meetings and talks have been carried out in Bucaramanga.  The most recent event took place in the framework of “II Cátedra ASOSUSA”, which was held at Universidad Autónoma de Bucaramanga on April 7, 2014. The main topics discussed were leadership, entrepreneurship, and bilingualism.  The lecturers agreed on recognizing the importance of a second language to help do business overseas and foster Santander development.   Professor Alfredo Duarte Fletcher, Coordinator of the B.A. in Spanish and English at Universidad Corporativa de Colombia, talked about actions that have been carried out in Santander: English programs and computer programs have impacted 26.000 students and 260 English teachers with an investment of $ 6.5 million.  In addition, professor Duarte presented some other figures from 2006-2009. For example, an agreement between SENA and Secretaria de Educacion Santander was signed in order to impact 47.200 students and 750 language teachers.  This project also included the cooperation of nine foreign volunteers to support the SENA English program.  The Santander Government has invested a lot of money in smart boards to foster bilingualism; but language teachers are aware of the fact that technology for the sake of technology is not sufficient to guarantee learning, especially if technology does not have design and planning.

 

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Our proposal for Santander will be to foster literacy not only in the mother tongue but also in a second language. Nowadays, it is vital to speak another language different from the mother tongue without eliminating it.  As Nieto (2013) criticizes Hunger of Memory (1982) in which “Rodriguez’s perspective about being a Spanish-speaking immigrant is, in fact, directly counter to mine: while he concluded that abandoning Spanish was the price he had to pay for success in the United States, my conclusion is that there is no need to erase part of one’s identity in order to be successful. On the contrary, I believe that having more than one language has enriched me both personally and professionally. Being bilingual and biliterate is a legacy that I cherish every day.”  The scope of this literacy agenda will tackle learners in primary, secondary and tertiary education university and has started with formal and informal meetings with MIBIS group.

 

Conclusions

 

After having analyzed the development literacy has had so far, its implications on our society, and some strategies that could be incorporated in Colombian classrooms for its positioning, it can be concluded that any community can highly benefit from literacy practices in the sense that they raise people’s social and cultural awareness, as they provide with tools and abilities for reading and writing better in many different ways.  Consequently, becoming literate in various fields means an overture to multiple approaches to reality, ideally born from a critical perspective which obeys to the needs of the 21st century types of human relatedness and social changes.  In the particular case of second language learning, new literacies are the key to really understand foreign cultures while using language as the main vehicle for interaction and social participation.  Therefore, a challenge to face nowadays in educational institutions consists of facilitating meaningful tasks and dynamic multimodal resources that allow learners to analyze, confront and understand the world reality both through their mother tongue and their target language so that they become not only literate but also biliterate in favor of greater opportunities for social agency and multiculturality.

 

 

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REFERENCES

 

Álvarez Valencia, J. A. (2009). Are we really literate? ASOCOPI Newsletter, April, 13-15.

 

Bartlett, L., López, D., Mein, E., & Valdiviezo, L. A. (2011). Adolescent literacies in Latin America and the Carribbean. Review of Research in Education, 35, 174-207. doi:

10.3102/0091732X10383210

 

Blake, R. (2008). Brave New Digital Classroom: Technology and Foreign Language Learning.Georgetown University Press

 

Burbules, N. & Berk, R. (1999).  Critical Thinking and Critical Pedagogy:
Relations, Differences, and Limits.   Critical Theories in Education New York, NY: Routledge.

 

Burnett, C. & Merchant, G. (2011). Is there a space for critical literacy in the context of social media? English Teaching: Practice and Critique, 10(1), 41-57.

 

Cassany, D. & Castellà, J. M. (2010). Aproximación a la literacidad crítica. Perspectiva, 28(2), 353-374. doi:10.5007/2175-795X.2010v28n2p353

 

Dehaene, S. (2013). Inside the Letterbox: How Literacy Transforms the Human Brain. Retrieved from:  https://www.dana.org/Cerebrum/2013/Inside_the_Letterbox__How_Literacy_Transforms_the_Human_Brain/

 

Dunkerly-Bean, J. (2013). Reading the world in the word: The possibilities for literacy instruction framed within human rights education. Language and Literacy, 15(2), 40-55.

 

Freire, Paulo and Macedo Donaldo (1987). Literacy: Reading the World and the Word. South Hadley, MA: Bergin Garvey.

 

Horton, William. (2011). E-Learning by Design (Second Edition). San Francisco: Pfeiffer.

 

Guerrero, I. (2013). Technology and literacy: Towards a situated comprehension of a Mexican teacher’s actions. In J. Kalman & B. Street (Eds.), Literacy and numeracy in Latin America: Local perspectives and beyond. New York, NY: Routledge.

 

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This entry was posted on April 28, 2014 by in Uncategorized.
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