Constructions of Literacy: Studies of Teaching and Learning in and Out of Secondary Schools, Etta R. Hollins, 9780805829488


Explores and represents, through a series of cases and commentaries, how and why secondary school teachers and students use literacy in formal and informal learning settings. As used in the context of this study, secondary literacy refers to speaking, listening, reading, writing and performing. It also refers to how these processes or events are constructed, negotiated and used for specific purposes by teachers and students as they engage in various classroom, school and community practices and interactions. The authors operate from a stance that literacy is socially, culturally and historically constructed. They recognize that there are many different perspectives on how that construction occurs – some arguing for institutional and structural influences; others suggesting that people have some degree of agency within the constraints imposed by larger structures. A distinguishing feature of the volume is that the contributors explore and make explicit differing perspectives on literacy as a social construction. The volume is built around case studies of secondary school teachers’ and students’ literacy practices inside and outside of schools. The cases include diverse (critical, cultural, feminist, interpretive, phenomenological and postmodern) theoretical and epistemological perspectives and research methodologies. It concludes with two commentaries, by Donna Alvermann and David Bloome, in which they discuss and critique the contributions made from the different perspectives, and grapple with how they simultaneously illuminate and confuse issues in literacy theory, research and practice. Preservice and inservice teachers, school professionals and researchers in literacy education, secondary education and curriculum theory should find this book useful. It should help them analyze the complexities of secondary literacy teaching and learning, and to examine their own understandings of literacy within their own literary contexts.

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