Literacy, place-based pedagogies and social justice

Kerkham, Lyn & Comber, Barbara (2013) Literacy, place-based pedagogies and social justice. In Green, Bill & Corbett, Michael (Eds.) Rethinking Rural Literacies : Transnational Perspectives. Palgrave Macmillan, New York, pp. 197-218.

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Our long-term program of research has considered the relationships between teachers’ work and identities, literacy pedagogies and schooling, particularly in high-poverty communities. Over the past decade, we have worked with teachers to consciously explore with them the possible productive synergies between critical literacy and place-based pedagogies, and the affordances of multimodal and digital literacies for students’ engagement with the places where they live and learn. These studies have been undertaken with teachers working and living in various locales—from the urban fringe to inner suburban areas undergoing urban renewal, to rural and regional communities where poverty and the politics of place bring certain distinctive opportunities and constraints to bear on pedagogy for social justice. There is now wider recognition that “social justice” may need rethinking to foreground the nonhuman world and the relation between people and politics of places, people, and environments in terms of “eco-social justice” (Green 2010; Gruenewald 2003b) or spatial justice (Soja 2011).

In this chapter, we explore place as a site of knowing and as an object of study as developed through the Special Forever project by teachers in schools located in the Murray-Darling Basin bioregion. Putting the environment at the center of the literacy curriculum inevitably draws teachers into the politics of place and raises questions concerning what is worth preserving and what should be transformed. We consider how the politics of place both constrains and opens up possibilities for pedagogy for eco-social justice and review the pedagogical work that one teacher, Hannah, undertook with her upper primary class.

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ID Code: 64841
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional URLs:
DOI: 10.1057/9781137275493.0017
ISBN: 9781137275486
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Bill Green and Michael Corbett
Deposited On: 27 Nov 2013 23:28
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2016 14:40

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