Below are excerpts from an essay that discusses the various types of literacy that are required to be learned in NSW secondary schools. Literacy is an often debated topic, and with the additional of digital literacies to the curriculum, new methods are needed to teach the new types of literacies.
The question arises as to how the theories of social discourse and literacy can be implemented in the classroom. The Board of Studies NSW (2012, p. 25) states that English Stage 4 students “must study examples of spoken texts, print texts, visual texts, media, multimedia and digital texts”. In view of literacy, and multiliteracies, there are a wide choice of texts to meet the needs of the students in the classroom (Board of Studies NSW, 2012, p. 26). Various strategies will also help meet the needs of students. Strategies vary from ‘flipped classroom’, think-pair-share, see-think- wonder, use of prompt cards for spelling words, visual timeline to illustrate the plot of a story, brainstorming, graphic organisers, jigsaw, and modelling the construction of a text.
In regard to speaking and listening, an effective literacy-based strategy is the ‘flipped classroom’ where students are required to present information to their peers. For example, a Stage 4, Year 7 English class who are studying a unit on Sustainability might view an artist’s impression of a trash-filled scene and discussing it in class using the see-think-wonder strategy. The year 7 students are then encouraged to create their own trash scene with a caption that promotes a sustainable lifestyle. The literacy
tool for this task is Minecraft which is popular with young people, has an emphasis on problem-solving, and is a highly visual environment. Students will be asked to write down what they know about Minecraft and how it relates to creating a trash scene. Students will to teach their peers about the capabilities of Minecraft – the images will appear on the Interactive White Board – in order to create images that are a product of critical analysis of a previous visual text. As the students lead the class by teaching about the gaming program, the classroom is effectively ‘flipped’. This method allows students to research, write, speak, and it accesses the higher-order thinking in Blooms Taxonomy (Krathwohl, 2002, p. 215) through analysing, evaluating and creating.
In conclusion, being literate “is more than the acquisition of technical skills” (NSW English Syllabus K-10, 2012, p. 29). Literacy arouses public debate regarding its meaning, purpose, and implementation in the classroom. With this in mind, teachers of English focus on speaking and listening, reading and viewing, and writing and composing, in order to “develop personal and social capability” (ACARA, n.d., para. 6) in their students. Many strategies can be used to implement the areas discussed, and the flipped classroom, tapered spelling list, and think-aloud model have been highlighted in this paper. Multiliteracies are becoming increasingly relevant and a powerful learning tool, while traditional forms of literacy are changing in order to meet the literacy demands of our future leaders.
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