Teaching Literacy - Living Literacies

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    Dr Carol Azumah Dennis September 2010 University of Hull - Pedagogy and Professional Practice Research Group.

    The Puzzle

    The broad aim of the project is to explore how trainee literacy teachersconceptualise the subject they teach with reference to their own experiencesof being literate.

    The Title

    Talking literacy: living literacies (Its a working title!)

    Research Rationale

    Professional this research would enable me to explore trainee teachers approaches to theliteracies required to be a student. This would in the long run enable me to understand more clearly how and why they approach

    the work the way they do and work more effectively to support them in managing an aspect of being a student that many of

    them find something of a struggle. It would be possible to undertake this project with non -specilaist literacy tutors, but this

    would change the slant slightly. It is the extent to which they draw upon the ir own experiences of literacy to inform their

    conceptualisation of it as a pedagogic subject that I am curious about. From the perspective of my own professionalism this is

    the first piece of work that I will have considered as a researcher rather than research student. In it I hope to head towards

    approaches that I have aspired to but not been able to achieve broadening to include multimodal methods, something that

    involves research participants in a more active way rather than merely gifting way. I need to be doing something and this i s a

    gentle opening to explore and outline with more clarity what could become a more substantial project (I have good access to

    partners through the TiLLS project who I think who would be open to persuasion as far as this is concerned). .

    Academicconcerns the study would contribute towards a continuing understanding ofliteracy as social practice. It would open another site of exploration. While the subject of academic literacies has been wel l

    written about this study takes trainee literacy teachers as the starting point. Given they teach literacy, their construction of it

    as a pedagogic subject is particularly interesting. There are many sources of information for them to drawn in on. Most of th em

    are policy driven and take literacy as a common sense series of discrete clearly ident ifiable skills. In working with trainees to

    explore their own experiences of literacy, I hope to offer another rich source of information that might help shape their

    perceptions of literacy. I understand literacy in the broadest sense as the space between thought and text. I am mindful of not

    wanting to associate their experiences of academic literacy reading complex texts and essay writing as in some significant way

    connected to the experiences of literacy learning (this is important as they find the connection derogatory), but with the broad

    definition I have in mind, Im seeking to move outside an understanding of literacy that makes a fetish out of levels and i nstead

    focuses on the person and the text.

    Literature and research the definitive texts in this area have been written in 1997 and 2001 by RozIvanic and Theresa Lillis respectively. I hope to identify a specific space in this discussion. I work from an educational fr ame

    (sociology background) rather then one of linguistics. This is a sl ightly different area of work for me and I want to explore a

    research methodology that is unlike that which I am most used to.

    Methodology I am to actively involve participants in both the collection andinterpretation of data. Id like to invite the m to take photographs to tell a photo story of their assignment writing process. It

    might be interesting to see how they frame it (from start to finish) and what is included / excluded. And then to talk me through

    the photographs. I will then read and mark the assignment of record a talkback session. That is feedback but with a stronger

    emphasis on exchange rather me telling them what I think. I want to understand how they have constructed and approached the

    task and how they view the feedback I have offered)

    Study design

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    Dr Carol Azumah Dennis September 2010 University of Hull - Pedagogy and Professional Practice Research Group.

    Data collection & analysis digital photographs of activityInterviews in which they explain the photos

    We talk about drafting of module 3 they explain their approach to content

    and approach (the what & how) of writing

    Module 3 is completed and marked

    Recorded talkback interview based around feedback

    Timetable This is driven by the nature of the course timetable. They have just startedModule 3. I have mooted the idea with them and so could start immediate with the aim of completing the actual research by the

    end of the year. The writing up could be done by Easter.

    Value of the study:

    Its contribution to professional knowledge The trainee literacy students fall by default rather than design intothe widening participation category. They are largely older working class Yorkshire women. They do not being a strong

    academic background with them and for many the experience of the course is a new one and at times requires them to move

    beyond their comfort zone. I think it would be helpful to learn more about their experiences of being a student.

    Its contribution to academic knowledge I hope this is outlined about. It adds a dimension to the continuingstudy of literacy practices, broadened to include the connection between literacy is lived experienced to literacy as pedagog ic

    object.

    Project Participants

    y Initially 5 trainees from my University Diploma in Adult Literacy. I may include their mentors if this seems appropriate.Interview schedule

    y I am yet to draft this.

    Dissemination

    There are several sources of potential publication.

    y Research papers in Further and Higher Educationy Studies in the Education of Adultsy Possibly written Communication

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    Dr Carol Azumah Dennis September 2010 University of Hull - Pedagogy and Professional Practice Research Group.

    Resources

    Item Comment

    Digital camera x 5 @ 80 400 It is possible to get a digital camera for 80 I would like to get 5 for

    400. There will also be printing costs but I suspect these would be

    minimal if I can have the work printed in UoH reprographics.

    Transcription 5 x 3 interviews for 1

    hour each. 15 interviews that

    require 3 hours to transcribe = 45hrs @ 10 pr hr

    450 I would like to request the cost of transcription @ 10 per hour. I work

    on the basis of 3 hours to transcribe a 1 hour interview and hope to

    interview each participant 5 for 3 hours each.

    850

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