Dickie, John. Samoan students documenting their out-of-school literacies: An insider view of conflicting values

Abstract:

Knowledge of students’ out-of-school literacies could provide important information towards addressing primary school literacy attainment for Pasifika students. Fourteen Samoan children in a New Zealand primary school were trained as ethnographers to document their own out-of-school uses of literacy. The students and three adult representatives from the church associated with the students’ school were interviewed. Data from photographs, journals and interviews were analysed into patterns of sites and uses for literacy which revealed consonant and conflicting values and pedagogies between the sites. Rogoff’s three planes of analysis were used to examine the students’ practices at personal, interpersonal and community levels and to offer the students’ own perspective of areas of conflicting values. These findings highlight the need for teachers to know about their students’ out-of-school literacy practices to identify consonant and conflicting values as students negotiate between their various sites for literacy. Rather than construct differences as deficits, teachers can incorporate consideration of students’ out-of-school literacies into their classroom programs. Where there are conflicting values, this challenge should not be dismissed as too difficult. Contradictions may provide useful links for teachers even as they present a challenge for teachers’ professional judgments and adaptation of the school curriculum in order to make meaningful connections to school.

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