Constructions of Literacy 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 book, 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, making this one of the first collections of studies in secondary content area classrooms conducted from multiple perspectives. It concludes with two Commentaries, one by Donna Alvermann and one by 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 in-service teachers, school professionals, and researchers in literacy education, secondary education, and curriculum theory will find this book stimulating and informative. It will help them analyze the complexities of secondary literacy teaching and learning, and examine their own understandings of literacy within their own literacy contexts.
"I have long thought that content literacy research needed more 'bite' and this book provides it. At last we have a book that includes critical, cultural, feminist, interpretive, and postmodern research and that will provide its readers with a richer understanding of secondary students' literacy development….This helps the field close the chapter on the era of technical rationality; fortunately, it does not do so by ignoring our past concerns but by putting those concerns in historical perspective and by directing our attention to the literacy demands of today's postmodern world."
—Mary H. Sawyer
State University of New York, College at New Paltz
Contents: A. Luke, Foreword. E.B. Moje, D.G. O'Brien, Preface. Part I:Framing Secondary and Adolescent Literacy Research. D.W. Moore, J.E. Readance, Situating Secondary School Literacy Research. D.G. O'Brien, E.B. Moje, R.A. Stewart, Exploring the Context of Secondary Literacy: Literacy in People's Everyday School Lives. Part II:Cases of Secondary and Adolescent Literacy. Section I:Cases That Seek to Interpret. D.R. Dillon, D.G. O'Brien, M. Volkmann, Reading, Writing, and Talking to Get Work Done in Biology. E.G. Sturtevant, V.P. Duling, R.E. Hall, "I've Run a 4,000 Person Organization…And It's Not Nearly This Intense…": A Three-Year Case Study of Content Literacy in High School Mathematics. Section II:Cases That Seek to Reform. D.G. O'Brien, R. Springs, D. Stith, Engaging At Risk Students: Literacy Learning in a High School Literacy Lab. B.J. Guzzeti, Texts and Talk: The Role of Gender in Learning Physics. Section III:Cases That Seek to Interrupt. R.A. Stewart, Looking Back at Mr. Weller: A Personal Retrospective. K.A. Hinchman, P. Zalewski, "She Puts All These Words in It": Language Learning for Two Students in Tenth-Grade Social Studies. E.B. Moje, D.J. Willes, K. Fassio, Constructing and Negotiating Literacy in the Writer's Workshop: Literacy Teaching and Learning in Seventh Grade. S.F. Oates, Living as an Everyday Practice. M.M. Kelly, The Education of African-American Youth: Literacy Practices and Identity Representation in Church and School. Part III:Commentaries. D.E. Alvermann, Reading Gender and Positionality Into the Nine Case Studies: A Feminist Poststructuralist Perspective. D. Bloome, Boundaries on the Construction of Literacy in Secondary Classrooms: Envisioning Reading and Writing in a Democratic and Just Society.