On a tip from Dean Shareski’s daily links, I found this gem to work with from the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Executive Committee Meeting:
TOWARD A DEFINITION OF 21st-CENTURY LITERACIESAdopted by the NCTE Executive Committee February 15, 2008
Literacy has always been a collection of cultural and
communicative practices shared among members of particular groups. As
society and technology change, so does literacy. Because technology has
increased the intensity and complexity of literate environments, the
twenty-first century demands that a literate person possess a wide
range of abilities and competencies, many literacies. These
literacies—from reading online newspapers to participating in
virtual classrooms—are multiple, dynamic, and malleable. As in
the past, they are inextricably linked with particular histories, life
possibilities and social trajectories of individuals and groups.
Twenty-first century readers and writers need to
• Develop proficiency with the tools of technology
• Build relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally
• Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes
• Manage, analyze and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information
• Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multi-media texts
• Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments
The timeliness of this statement is not lost on me as I begin to craft my idea for what a 21st Century writing class should look like. “These literacies—from reading online newspapers to participating in
virtual classrooms—are multiple, dynamic, and malleable.” How great is that?
Yet, somewhere within me there is the skeptic heart that tells me the same reaction I got when I proposed the idea of teaching visual literacy to our English Department will greet me with this new class as well. The same questions of time (there is not enough of it to add anything new), student apathy, and clinging to what was done in the past will be brought up.
I need the statistics and rationale to back up what this will be about. I need your success stories. How are you effectively teaching writing these days?