As part of my MA in New Literacy Studies I have been researching perceptions of literacy in relation the context of the original National Literacy Strategy. I will of course write a more in-depth post about my findings in due course but here is an initial report of what I discovered:

Grim reading isn’t it? Of course the framework has been renewed and offers a much more pluralist approach to literacy education. However, some schools do still use the original strategy AND remain loyal to it’s deeply conservative ideology. We really are at a fixed point in how literacy is defined and taught in schools. More soon.

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2 thoughts on “Perceptions of Literacy – A fixed point

  • May 31, 2010 at 9:44 pm
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    Hi Liked your presentation and very interested by your findings.  Are you publishing in more detail anywhere?  Very sympathetic about the huge amount of data transcripts  and what a job it is to analyse it all!  But an interesting research question – did you conjecture at all about what children and teachers might feel was appropriate to say to a researcher – i.e. might findings also reflect a research effect?    I was also interested in whether you found differences between Y1 teachers and teachers in Y6 – just speculating whether perhaps early years teachers' experience of the NLS (depending when they came into it as well) might have a different view from teachers in KS2?  And Y6 children would have probably been through 2 national assessment experiences which might again have emphasised certain identifiable linguistic and generic features of texts?

    Just to amuse you – One child was overheard to say in answer to his friend's question  – right at the start of the NLS when they were issued with new exercise books on which they had to write 'literacy', a new subject to them – that he knew what it would be:  'Neaten up! Neaten up!'   So cynical, so young!!

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  • June 1, 2010 at 2:41 pm
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    Hi Isobel, firstly thank you for your comment and secondly thank you for writing your article about the common language of the National Literacy Strategy as it was a huge help during my study! I am hoping to publish my findings over the summer but I currently have two other articles in the works also. I recently presented a paper at the ESRC Virtual Worlds seminar which touched on various strands of my work including this presentation – the papers are to the right in the 'Downloads' section. When I was conducting the interviews I felt that the participants were very honest with their views – the short presentation above is not very good at conveying this. The Y6 teacher also had a multiple literacies view of literacy and highlighted the importance of speaking and listening also. Although this didn't match with their children. I think also the children in Year 6 had had the majority of their literacy education focused around the first NLS so it had obviously affected their perceptions of literacy. In this sense the NLS conflicted with the teachers values and meant they had to teach a type of literacy which didn't match their own beliefs. However, towards the end of the interviews the children did recognise that there were aspects of the literacy that were 'new' but this was very much focused on a school-centric model. For example they believed that literacy in school could help them with activities outside of school, an example being that their written work at school could help them write 'properly' on MSN Messenger. However, they didn't percieve their outside popular culture as helping them in school. They very much believed that their schooled literacy was an essential part of succeeding in the world and some belived that technology was destroying the very fabric of literacy! I will try to write a more in-depth blog post about this as soon as I can. Thanks again for your thought-provoking comment!

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