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LITERACY DEVELOPMENT IN EDUCATINAL SETTINGS

LITERACY BEYOND READING AND WRITING


EDUCATION 3526
Marley Fairclough – ID: 2151189
It can be recognised that literacy goes beyond reading, writing, and spelling. The discourses surrounding Literacy
influence and are shaped by social, cultural and educational underpinnings that can be exposed upon through our lives
outside of the classroom and transferred into our literacy practices throughout education. Gee (2001) in Literacy,
discourse, and linguistics recognises and identifies literacies discourses under two banners ‘primary discourses as those
we learn from our families and communities and then multiple discourses as those we acquire throughout our lives.’ It
is through this consideration that I imitate and reflect upon my own personal learning experience and how learning
experienced throughout my life can be made evident in my personal approach to literary.

It is evident that ones early life experiences play a vital role in an adolescent's future learning goals and outcomes.
One's exposure to multiple forms of literature learned both in and out of the schooling environment has a significant
influence on a persons learning development (Pirbhai-Illich, 2011). Growing up in a rural coastal, farming and high
Aboriginal population community I draw upon this concept significantly, as I believe past experiences as a child have
helped not only shape the person I have become and my personal beliefs but also the goals I which to achieve.
Throughout my life, I have been fortunate enough to experience a broad spectrum of social and cultural practices.
From a young age I have been exposed to travel, experiencing differing cultural, social and language practices, it has
been my parents that have placed significant emphasis on learning through experience and I am incredibly grateful to
have had the opportunities that I believe have helped lead my career pathway decisions and the teacher I wish to
become.

Travel both within Australian and overseas has been a huge part of my life, with my family taking every opportunity to
develop my Personal, Social, Ethical, Intercultural and Creative thinking understanding and capabilities through
exposure to hidden literacy using real-life experience. As a majority of our families travel was conducted during the
schooling year it was both my schools and parents expect that educational activities were completed during our time
away from the classroom. I reflect upon a particular experience that in, which I believe was a prominent aspect of my
literacy development. When I was ten years old my family set off in our caravan on a trip around Australia, before
heading off on our journey my mum came home with a children's book called ‘Are we there yet?' based on a family's
travel adventures, both my brother and I were so fascinated with the book and sort inspiration to create our own book
based on a journal documentation of our own journey. Each night we would spend the time to reflect upon our day's
activities, then drawing a picture of our favourite part of the day. After significant consideration into literacy
understanding I place huge importance on this reflective activity as a learning tool, it enabled development of
transferable skills with emphasis on spelling, grammar, visual and cultural literacy and analysis of learning experiences
(Barton, 2007).

As reflected upon by Barton (2007, p.27) in Talking about literacy, ‘Literacy teaching begins with a critical examination
of society and of the participant’s relationship to it.’ It requires change through analysis and understanding of one's
social and cultural position in society in order to influence the way in which literacy practices are approached within a
school environment (Williams 2006, p. 343). My background as a middle-class white person has placed me in a position
of educational advantage; however, this has not provided me with full literacy advantage. My regional schooling
experience can be viewed as both a positive and negative experience. I was exposed to many positive social and
cultural learning experiences, though from a literacy perspective I have continually felt that I have lacked behind in
literacy competency. As I am a student born in the middle of the year I was placed in year one, after only two terms of
reception. I have continually struggled with spelling and grammar during my academic life as a result and it has been a
continuing hurdle in finding methods to overcome this struggle throughout my schooling and university studies. I have
repeatedly felt that my struggle with literacy competency will be a downfall within the Educational Teaching
Environment. However during my experience as an Education Support Officer, I have discovered that it is this
understanding of the difficulty in understanding literacy, that has enabled myself to provide support and guideless to
students within all literacy learning contexts and development.

I believe that my educational disadvantage will draw influence on my teaching practices and processes. I wish to draw
focus on adapting programs to provide students with a range of literacy experiences that will assist in literacy
development across all spectrums. This will, in turn, allow for increased development of personal and social
capabilities, with the incorporation of interactive learning situations to become used as a vital tool for a student’s
literacy skill development.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
 Barton, D 2007, 'Talking about literacy', in Barton, D, Literacy: An introduction to the ecology of written
language, 2nd edn, Blackwell Publishing, Malden, MA, pp. 10-32.
 Gee, J.P. (2001). Literacy, discourse, and linguistics: Introduction. In E. Cushman, M. Rose, B. Kroll, & E.R.
Kintgen (Eds.), Literacy: A critical sourcebook (pp. 525–544). Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
 Pirbhai-Illich, Fatima 2010/2011, 'Aboriginal students engaging and struggling with critical multiliteracies',
Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, vol. 54, no. 4, pp. 257-266.
 Williams, B. (2005/2006). Home and away: The tensions of community, literacy, and identity. Journal of
Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 49(4), 342-347

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