The screen in the room offered the expected prompt: “What is your definition of critical literacy?” The familiar scratching of pen to paper could be heard throughout the auditorium as ideas were being generated. There is a strange dissonance to sit in a full room and silently write (like with a pen and paper!) for five minutes. Yes, today’s modern conference is one often obsessed with a backchannel. (Watching Obama’s State of the Union two weeks ago, I spent nearly the entire speech staring at my twitter feed and engaging in dialogue; Obama’s main-attraction content mainly
In my last two posts, I have reflected on a rationale for looking at the work of libraries through Deborah Brandt’s concept of sponsors of literacy as well as the philosophical and practical imperatives for libraries to examine the forces and ideologies that shape their work. As libraries begin to examine the ways they function as sponsors of multiple forms of literacy and to consider the kinds of literate practices that are privileged and marginalized, a checklist or inventory of questions for consideration is needed as a starting point for peeling back the layers of influences.
In my last post “Literacies and Fallacies,” I introduced Deborah Brandt’s conceptual approach of sponsors of literacy that connects individual literacy development to the economic development of literacy. I also shared a rationale for why libraries should use this critical interpretive lens and offered an initial list of questions as focal points of inquiry to consider. As I recently finished Natasha Trethewey’s brilliant and deeply moving Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, I saw parallels between the narratives in Trethewey’s work and Brandt’s ethnographic research examining sponsors of literacy. In this collection of
As someone who inhabits multiple learning worlds in libraries and public schools, concepts of literacy–traditional and emerging–are central to my work as I think about pedagogies that inform literacy practices in these spaces. Educational policies and curricular standards, economic factors, local and federal legislation, and political mandates are increasingly a driving force in the literacy practices championed by libraries (public, academic, K-12) and public schools. As library and educational organizations craft programming and curriculum in response to traditional literacy mandates like grade-level reading as well as contemporary literacies like digital, new media, and information literacy that