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.