This project was designed to study situated literacies, using New Literacy Studies (NLS) in a community school and included five distinct, progressive phases. This chapter reports on the Preparatory Phase. We led in-service sessions to share insights for student-centered instruction from a constructivist perspective with faculty members whose experience with literacy instruction had primarily been reflective of the skills-based paradigm. The focus of the first phase was to prepare the teachers to employ literature circles to revitalize literacy instruction and achievement. During this first year of this longitudinal study, teachers began gradually introducing constructivist methodologies into their literacy instruction and discussing them with us in the in-service sessions. All aspects of this project emphasized synergistic collaboration, featuring community building and collaborative sessions with teachers. Literature circles with high-interest literature by indigenous authors enhanced the learning activities and mini-lessons prepared teachers and their students for this exploration. In-service sessions laid the foundation for the project, and these sessions provided opportunities for ongoing collaboration. As we invited teachers and administrators to participate in constructivist pedagogical approaches featuring literature circles, we emphasized collaborative discussions to determine the most beneficial books, materials, and pedagogical strategies for students. Teachers and students experienced the power of synergistic collaboration as they explored engaging literature and shared their schema in meaningful discourse. This experience revitalized literacy achievement as students became more engaged in learning, and teachers noted the impact of their enthusiasm for learning. Students and teachers have experienced the power of synergistic collaboration while reading and writing during literature circles. Connecting culture and literacy with the power of synergistic collaboration invariably increased the learners’ engagement with and enjoyment of reading, writing, speaking and listening. This research-based design can serve as a template for incorporating cultural heritage into literacy education for all who educate indigenous students.
Thompson, W. and Coffey, D. (2017), "Accentuating Social and Cultural Connections to Revitalize Literacy Achievement", Ortlieb, E. and Cheek, E.H. (Ed.) Addressing Diversity in Literacy Instruction (Literacy Research, Practice and Evaluation, Vol. 8), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 155-170. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2048-045820170000008008
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