In 1982, Denny Taylor coined the term “family literacy” to reference the ways young children and their parents interact around texts. Since then, the term family literacy has generally been applied to the practices that occur in homes to support young children as they become readers and writers. However, 30 years later, this definition negates the full scope of possibilities that might inform our understandings of the literacy practices that occur within home spaces and among family members. These possibilities reflect two important trends increasingly recognized within literacy research communities. First, technological advances have affected the ways people read and write and the multimodal literacy practices that have come to define literacy in families and homes. These developments are often the focus of New Literacy Studies as defined by the New London Group and others. Second, while generally not addressed in terms of family literacy, a substantial and growing body of research has documented the out-of-school literacy practices of adolescents and youth. Many of these literacy practices are enacted and displayed in home settings. While connections between out-of-school literacy practices and family literacy are generally not explicit, homes and families provide significant social contexts that are critical to engaging in technological, peer-informed, and popular culture practices. In short, family literacy does not end once children learn to read. In contrast, family literacy assumes new forms and involves new modalities that both echo and extend the literacy practices found within families. This is significant, as it challenges conceptions of adolescent and youth literacy as being separate from the literacy practices of families.
To extend what is meant by family literacy, it is redefined as more than traditional activities that involve young children with texts. Instead, researchers are challenged to consider the full range of literacy practices that occur among family members and within homes across time. In doing this, family literacy and new literacy studies are brought together. Thus, the term family/home literacy is used to recognize not only the literacy practices that are enacted between children and parents, but the full range of literacy practices that occur among all family members—including siblings, extended family members, and friends. In short, family/home literacy practices are intertwined with home literacy affordances, which include the texts, opportunities, and technological resources that are available and used in homes. In order to explore family/home literacies over time, children’s literacy practices, including traditional and technological family/home literacy practices, are explored. Issues raised include parental mentoring of school-age children as they encounter new technologies at home, the adaptation of available resources by children as they move into and through adolescence, and transactions involving texts (both traditional and digital) among adolescents, young adults, and their parents.
Yvonne Poitras Pratt, Dustin W. Louie, Aubrey Jean Hanson, and Jacqueline Ottmann
This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Please check back later for the full article.
The need to decolonize and indigenize education stems from shared experiences of colonialism across the globe. In a world divided by ongoing conflict and fueled by issues of power and control, the need to closely examine the ways that education has served hegemonic interests will help to inform future educational initiatives as well as serve as a form of reparation for those indigenous peoples who have endured the dire consequences of colonialism. Present-day efforts to reclaim and revitalize threatened traditions are supported by international bodies such as the United Nations, as articulated within the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2008).
Decolonizing education entails identifying how colonization has impacted education and working to unsettle colonial structures and dynamics within educational contexts. Indigenizing education entails articulating and revitalizing indigenous understandings of education and reshaping education in ways that are responsive to indigenous communities’ knowledges. We use the term education broadly in these descriptions to name the sociocultural task of understanding ways of knowing and being within epistemological and ontological systems and the ongoing formation and transmission of knowledges: for instance, we mean both formal education as structured through Western schooling and other forms of education such as those traditionally practiced within indigenous families and communities. Decolonizing and indigenizing education fits within larger understandings of decolonization and indigenization at sociopolitical levels. However, these undertakings address in particular the colonization of the mind, of knowledge, language and culture, and the impacts of colonization at personal and collective levels of physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological, and intellectual experience.
From our perspectives, indigenizing is significant and distinct from decolonizing in that indigenizing work begins from indigenous perspectives and standpoints. Indigenizing is powerful for indigenous communities because it removes the colonial as a primary focus. Whereas the act of decolonizing challenges colonization and Eurocentrism, indigenizing fosters the resurgence and practice of indigenous knowledges and principles of self-determination by connecting indigenous pasts, presents, and futures. In this time of transition, the work of decolonizing schooling precedes that of indigenizing education for most educators and learners. Yet, in keeping with indigenous knowledge traditions, it must be acknowledged that education is in a state of constant flux as we come to know education as representative of diverse, and complex, worldviews.