The changing face of adolescent literacies in Newfoundland
Anne Michelle Burke, University of Toronto , Canada
Doctor of Philosophy, University of Toronto . Awarded
This dissertation explores the changing landscape of adolescent literacy practices in the Canadian province of Newfoundland & Labrador. The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the literacy practices of four adolescents, all in grade 8, revealing how and why they use different texts to construct identities and position themselves within their school and social worlds. To illuminate this changing landscape of adolescent practices, data were collected in the form of classroom observations, field notes, focus group discussion, interviews, and through samples of electronic texts provided by the participants. The data provided by the participants illustrate how the increasing presence of the Internet has influenced the textual engagements of youth, providing greater opportunities for design and communication with newly constructed identities. Interviews revealed how students' engaged virtual identities within web based media, designed texts on-line, used print, and other representational text within their life worlds to make meaning. This study shows how interaction and creation of new textual engagements on the part of the two females and two males, of which, two are new comers to Canada, have shifted the ways adolescents conceive and use language within their social and school worlds.
Adolescent literacy practices were explored within the context of this Canadian province where literate landscapes have been further challenged by large external migration, funding crisis in schools, and a population influx to urban centers from rural and international communities. Theories such as New literacy studies, multiliteracies and multimodal literacy were used to illuminate the literacy practices and constructed identities of the participants. Findings within this study show adolescents' notions of text are expanding to include the multimodal, which aids in their construction of identities and may position them in particular ways within their social and cultural worlds. The documented literacy practices of these adolescents suggest spaces of equity are afforded to learners through the use of multimodal texts. Unique cultural backgrounds shared through interviews celebrated rich home literate engagements which were not always visible in the students' classroom interactions. Implications for teacher practice suggest a more focused pedagogy which values the personal knowledges and practices of students, but also coupled with an understanding of how adolescents' use of language has expanded in form and purpose and teach to this need.
Burke, A.M. The changing face of adolescent literacies in Newfoundland. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, University of Toronto.
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