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C5 - Shelley Tracey (Queens): Crossing thresholds and expanding conceptual spaces: using arts-based methods to extend teachers’ perceptions of literacy
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C5 - Shelley Tracey (Queens): Crossing thresholds and expanding conceptual spaces: using arts-based methods to extend teachers’ perceptions of literacy


C5 - Shelley Tracey (Queens): Crossing thresholds and expanding conceptual spaces: using arts-based methods to extend teachers’ perceptions of literacy

C5 - Shelley Tracey (Queens): Crossing thresholds and expanding conceptual spaces: using arts-based methods to extend teachers’ perceptions of literacy

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  • 1. Crossing thresholds and expanding conceptual spaces: using arts-based methods to extend teachers’ perceptions of literacy
    Shelley Tracey
    Queen’s University Belfast
  • 2. Adult literacy practitioners: start of teacher education programme
    “I see literacy as basic English language, as reading and writing”
    “Literacy is the ability to communicate in your daily life”
  • 3. End of course
    “My understanding of literacy has changed dramatically over the past two years. In today’s world as methods of communication have expanded, it is no longer simply being able to read and write.
    Due to the development of technology such as computers, television and mobile phones it is almost impossible to shop, use banking systems or apply for a job without having a good understanding of literacy and technology. People with poor literacy skills find it difficult to integrate into society and to be independent and make their own choices and decisions.
    To me being literate should be more than being an economic asset to the government - it should be about people fulfilling their ambitions and reaching their full potential.”
  • 4. Overview
    Context: teacher education programme for adult literacy practitioners at Queen’s University Belfast.
    Use of arts-based approaches to enhance practitioners’ conceptualizations of literacy
    Responses and teachers’ evaluations of these methods.
    Discussion on assessment and visual literacy
  • 5. IALS
    • International Adult Literacy Survey
    • 6. 1994-1996
    • 7. 26 countries
    • 8. More than 20% of adults in NI with lowest level of skills
  • IALS questioned
    Deficit model of literacy
  • 9. Essential Skills for Living Strategy
    Department for Employment and Learning (NI), 2002
    24% of post-16 population of Northern Ireland at lowest level
    Standards for learning for adult literacy and numeracy and frameworks for teacher qualifications
  • 10. Essential Skills for Living
    Definition of literacy and numeracy as Essential Skills:
    “the ability to communicate by talking and listening, reading and writing: to use numeracy: and the ability to handle information”
    Focus on employability skills
  • 11. Essential Skills Strategy
    Lose your gremlins!
  • 12. The Literacy LadderCrowther, Hamilton and Tett (2001:1-2)
    The common way to think about literacy at the moment is by seeing it as a ladder that people have to climb up.
  • 13. “Deficit” and “Wealth” models of literacy
    Skills-based models (Skills for Life)
    New Literacy Studies: literacy as social practice
  • 14. Brian Street: models of literacy
    • Autonomous model: set of technical reading and writing skills
    • 15. Ideological model: based on literacy in context
    • 16. Situated literacies: different literacies in different domains/ aspects of life
  • Visual literacy
  • 17. Students
    Previous teaching experience in adult literacy: 0 to 48 months
    Teaching qualification: 15%
    Working full-time and studying part-time.
    Teaching practice placements :
    - further education colleges, alternative education, training organizations, programmes for unemployed people, prison service, voluntary and community organizations, hostels for homeless people.
  • 18. Literacy Travellers’ Tree (2007)
  • 19.
  • 20.
  • 21.
  • 22.
  • 23.
  • 24.
  • 25.
  • 26.
  • 27. Alberto et al (2007):
    perceiving literacy as a capacity for reading and writing limits the participation in learning of those with severe learning difficulties
    Notion of literacy as “obtaining information from the environment” (p. 234) in a variety of modes, only one of which is reading words.”(ibid.)
    Literacy and the arts
  • 28. Teacher education: extending reflection
    • Leitch and Day (2000: 186-187)
    • 29. “the development of more complex models of reflection, related to purpose, which take greater cognisance of existing knowledge from other disciplines, particularly those aspects of psychology concerned with cognitive processes including problem-finding, insight, wisdom, creativity”
  • Individual collective verbal
    non-verbal process product
    Modes of reflection
  • 39. … arts-based methods of inquiry still wrestle for mainstream acceptance in the world of educational research but are nevertheless rich in their capacity to create opportunities for teachers to reflect and self-direct
    Leitch, 2008, p. 150
  • 40. Arts-based approaches
    “Arts encourage a transcendental capacity. They allow the creator and the viewer to imagine possible ways of being, encourage the individual to move personal boundaries, and challenge resistance to change and growth.”
    Innate “artistry” involved in the craft of teaching (Eisner (2002, 382-383).
  • 41. Arts-based methods
    ‘… immersion in the uncertainties of experience, ‘finding’ a personally fulfilling path of inquiry, and the emergence of understanding through an often unpredictable process of exploration.”
    McNiff, 2000: 15
  • 42.
  • 43. Creativity: process
    Verification (evaluation)
  • 44. Creative Reflection model (Tracey, 2007)
    Preparation for Engagement
  • 45. Processes involved in creativity
  • 46. Phase 1: Preparation
    • Entering a creative space; threshold activities
    • 47. liminal spaces: uncertainty
    • 48. need for receptivity: Negative Capability: John Keats ,
    “when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason” (Buxton Foreman, 1895).
  • 49. Meyer and Land (2006):
    learning involves the occupation of a liminal space during the process of mastery of a threshold concept
  • 50. Threshold activity
  • 51. Phase 2: Play
    Creative thinking
    idea storming
  • 52. Phase 3: Exploration
    Non-verbal exploration
    Need for incubation time
    Use of metaphor
  • 53. Exploring and extendingteachingspacesCreating an idealteaching and learningenvironment ...
  • 54.
  • 55.
  • 56. Phase 4: Synthesis
    • Reflection
    • 57. Evaluation
  • Use of arts-based work (2008/2009)
    Course sessions
    - Group exhibition
    - Reflective learning journal
    - Final reflection in teaching practice portfolio
  • 58. Course sessions
    Creative thinking activities
    Models for learning and themes
    Acrostic poems
    Resources for literacy teaching
  • 59. Group work on motivation
  • 60. What are you like?
  • 61. What are you like?
  • 62.
  • 63.
  • 64.
  • 65. Assessment: Creating exhibitions
    First year of the programme : interactive group exhibition on any aspect of literacy
    Posters and creative artefacts, creative writing activities, dance and mime.
    “This was a great learning activity”.
    “It allows for imagination, creativity and collaboration with peers.”
    “Good ideas for learners”.
  • 66.
  • 67.
  • 68.
  • 69. Reflection
    “Images were used in my reflection on the group project and I felt that they did help when writing up my reflection. I used them to enhance the presentation and to ‘jog my memory’ of the presentation.”
  • 70. Teachers’ evaluations
    Reflections on images
      “Images really helped me to reflect and my learners to do the same”.
    “Learners in my organisation are extremely visual.”
    “Helped with story telling;”
    “Allows the imagination to run wild but in a constructive way”.
  • 71. Creative Writing
    “Can be adapted and used on a variety of areas and learning levels”
    “Learners like reflecting on their disabilities though poetry”.
    “Acrostic poetry was new to me, found interesting. Allows for creativity.”
  • 72. Acrostic poem
  • 73.
  • 74. Shape Poem
  • 75.
    “I have incorporated storytelling into my class and found it useful and important to learners”
    “Learners with [learning] difficulties enjoy this activity”.
  • 77. Assessment: Reflecting on images
    “The use of images, whether of one’s own or another’s creation, can reveal our otherwise hidden worldview assumptions. Those hidden assumptions have a profound impact on the way we think and make meaning from our experiences. It is in the purposeful estrangement from those assumptions, envisioning of alternative realities, and critical examination of both old and new points of view – although not necessarily in a conscious and rational way – that transformative learning occurs.” (Hoggan, 2009, p. 73)
  • 78. I find self-reflection quite difficult. I find it hard to express myself through words - I can’t seem to be able to state how I feel using only language. Being able to use [Windows] Moviemaker greatly enhanced my ability to reflect not only on what I had learned but also on what my learners had learned. To say all I wanted to, using only words, would have required me to write page after page! Using Moviemaker allowed me to address the many intricacies of my reflection in a fuller and more interesting format.
    “It’s a great idea and I liked learning how to use Windows Moviemaker, but I just didn’t have the time for this.”
  • 79. Digital Images (Mullan and Tracey)
    Photos: of practice:
    “really enabled me to see my teaching through the eyes of my learners – especially when they took their own photographs”
    “…photos and images of my practice provided the opportunity to show others the nature of my teaching and the range of learners.”
    Short films: Windows Moviemaker.
  • 80. Collage-making
    Research questions
    Paper-based collage
    Electronic collage
    Researching Collage
    Collaging research
  • 81.
  • 82.
  • 83.
  • 84.
  • 85. Although none of the learners in my class made it as far as accreditation while I was there, we did use the final session as a time of acknowledgement. The learners participated in collage making (something none of the men had ever tried before), with the theme “What I have learnt about myself”. Afterwards we engaged in a discussion about the collages, what they meant to us, and how much we had learnt about ourselves, as learners and as people, through the classes. I acknowledged the work each individual learner had done and highlighted their progression with particular note to some of the more difficult areas in their literacy learning that they had overcome. Everyone, myself included, came away from that final session inspired by the potential and possibilities we had seen for ourselves and each other.
  • 86. Use of arts-based methods in assignments
  • 87. Collage : responses
    “Great for kinaesthetic learning sessions.”
    “something that I could use with my learners”
  • 88.
  • 89. Reflective learning journal
  • 90. Reflective learning journal
  • 91.
  • 92. Student work online
  • 93.
  • 94. At the end of the course
    “I have learnt about visual literacy, for example, which I had not considered before.”
     “I now see literacy as a complex web of realities – different for different learners and communities.”
    “My definition of literacy now includes speaking and listening, also visual literacy and social practice view of literacies.”
    “I understand that literacy is much more than just writing, that it takes many forms and this impacts on the resources I use.”
  • 95.
    • Visual literacy in adult literacy teacher education programmes
    • 96. Frameworks for the assessment of arts-based work in higher education.
  • 97. Visual literacy
    Use of images in assessment process for literacy learning
    Griffin (2008): because students in the twenty first century are receptive to visual images, this does not necessarily mean they are knowledgeable about them or about aspects of visual design
  • 98. Visual literacy in Higher Education
    “The challenge of transforming print-centric colleges and universities into a visually rich and dynamic community of creators and scholars is daunting. Although the information technologists have laid the infrastructure and although commerce and entertainment have provided examples, higher education remains bogged down in its traditions—traditions that were highly effective in a past era.”
    Metros and Woolsey, 2006:80-81
  • 99. Analysing images
    Visual literacy not the capacity “to identify images and to parse them according to the ways they refer to the world.” (Elkins, 2002, p. 137)
  • 100. Visual literacy
    Langford (2003): the skills of interpreting, decoding, analyzing and synthesizing the images around us.
    Rose (2001) set of questions to enhance awareness of the nature of the image itself, its production, and the role of the audience in the production.
  • 101.
  • 102. “The course has opened up for me the creative and powerful aspects of literacy. It has also made me aware that I have neglected my own development in this area.”