Reconceptualizing the Literacies in Adolescents' Lives: Bridging the Everyday/Academic Divide

By Donna E. Alvermann; Kathleen A. Hinchman | Go to book overview

FOREWORD
Reconceptualizing Teacher Knowledge
and Student Achievement

Randy Bomer

How and what would we teach if we really knew the young adults in our classrooms? If we knew about Javier’s collection of fotonovelas, passed down to him by his father, and his deep and growing expertise about that literate form, what foundation might that provide for extensions of his literacy that we hope to sponsor? If we could see into the inner visions of possible identities that our students carry with them through their days, the powerful people they would like to become, how might we hitch our curricular wagons to those ambitions, boosting them each into a new self even as we extend what they can do in writing and reading? How might we teach, in other words, if we had evidence that our middle and high school students are not constantly in danger of falling short of standards but are actually already competent, well on their way to all the underlying practices of thinking, understanding, and crafting that make up our hopes for their achievement, in and out of school? This new edition of Reconceptualizing the Literacies in Adolescents’ Lives helps us develop new, appreciative eyes for the assets adolescents have already developed in their literacy — and the energy of their striving toward new abilities — sometimes with our help and sometimes without it. It is a book that gives us eyes for what we, as their teachers, might learn from what our students are already doing and it informs our imagination about how we might support them in their expanding capacities.

The adolescents represented in the first edition of this book were kids of the 1990s. For adults whose lives have accelerated as we age and for whom time is striding hastily across the decades, that time seems like the day before yesterday. But adolescent lives and literacies — like those of adults and children, too — were markedly different then: the Internet, gaming, and mobile phones were only the merest suggestion of what they have become in the intervening years. The political and economic landscapes of 1996 have changed multiple times since, and

-viii-

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