Literacy, Place, and Pedagogies of Possibility: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Literacy, Place, and Pedagogies of Possibility

1st Edition

By Barbara Comber


184 pages

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How can teachers ensure a pedagogy of possibility underpinned by social justice, and what has literacy got to do with this? This book explores the positive synergies between critical literacy and place-conscious pedagogy. Through rich classroom research it introduces and demonstrates how a synthesis of insights from theories of space and place and literacy studies can underpin the design and enactment of culturally inclusive curriculum for diverse student communities, and illustrates how making place and space the objects of study provide productive resources for teachers to design enabling pedagogical practices that extend students’ literate repertoires. The argument is that systematic study of and engagement with specific elements of place can enable students’ academic learning and literacy.

Literacy, Place, and Pedagogies of Possibility

  • is informed by critical literacy, place-conscious pedagogy and spatial theory
  • is richly illustrated with examples from classroom research, including teacher and student artifacts
  • provides new directions for classroom practice in critical literacy

This novel combination of multidisciplinary theory and classroom research extends previous work in critical literacy pedagogy, drawing on two decades of ethnographic and collaborative inquiry in classrooms situated in culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms.


"I found this book tremendously uplifting for many reasons. One was that it is informed by insights from three decades of Barbara Comber’s pedagogic research and practice. Reading it felt like a conversation with a revered senior colleague, who has maintained her optimism and vision throughout the vicissitudes of education policy and ideologies during that time. Despite its scope, this book is succinct and very current, addressing literacy and learning in an age of climate change and globalisation. But its long view gives it a compelling authority." - Rachel Stubley, Research and Practice in Adult Literacy

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Literacy, pedagogy and place

Chapter 2: Critical and Inclusive literacies: Pedagogies of Belonging

Chapter 3: Assembling academic literacies through learning about place

Chapter 4: Literacy learning as collective and spatial practice

Chapter 5: Reimagining school literacy: What if…?


About the Author


Barbara Comber is Research Professor, Faculty of Education, Queensland University of Technology, Australia.

About the Series

Expanding Literacies in Education

The Expanding Literacies in Education Series features books that highlight the changing landscape and explore new directions and theoretical tools in literacy studies as it is transforming education—including material, embodied, affective, and global emphases; digital and virtual worlds; and transcultural and cosmopolitan spaces. Some books in the series locate emerging literacies in practices that extend or trouble their historical uses and functions. Others cross disciplinary borders, bringing new epistemologies to bear on evolving practices that question the very foundations of literacy scholarship. Polemical and forward-looking, encompassing public and vernacular pedagogies as well as formal education, these books engage researchers, graduate students, and teacher educators with new and emerging theoretical approaches to literacy practices in all of their complexities, challenges, and possibilities.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Curricula