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

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

14
RECONCEPTUALIZING TOGETHER
Exploring Participatory and Productive Critical
Media Literacies in a Collaborative Teacher
Research Group

Eli Tucker-Raymond, Daisy Torres-Petrovich, Keith Dumbleton, and Ellen Damlich

This chapter describes how teachers’ collaborative inquiry into Critical Media Literacy (CML) pedagogies can lead to reconceptualizations of what it means to teach and learn literacies in middle school contexts. A team of three teachers from a Chicago public middle school and a university researcher met biweekly during one school year to study CML through individual and collaborative action research inquiry projects. In presenting snapshots of our group discussions and classroom activities, we describe how collaboration mediated competing goals, values, and practices — creating opportunities for learning as we tried to implement CML in teachers’ classrooms. Stemming from our collaborative inquiry into the complex commitments of critical literacy, tensions between critical deconstruction and creative production as goals for literacy practices were central to our group discussions and teachers’ classroom projects. We argue that the collaborative negotiation of such tensions served as spaces for learning in which teachers developed new conceptual resources for changing their teaching in ways that led to more humanizing pedagogies.


Collaborative Action Team

The collaborative action research group, what we later came to call the Collaborative Action Team, was composed of three volunteer teachers and one university researcher: Daisy, a 7th–8th grade self-contained cross categorical special education teacher; Keith, a pullout special education resource teacher and reading, writing, and math specialist for 7th–8th grade students who were also Spanish-dominant speakers; and Ellen, the school librarian, serving all classes for one or two two-week blocks each year. Eli, an educational researcher from a nearby public university, and former middle school teacher, was the initiator of

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