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Developing Transnational Literacies journal articles



critical literacy,new_media,culturalisms

“While critics have argued that the films of Singapore director Jack Neo posit a critique of the state, this essay will argue the contrary. In deploying Chinese ‘dialects’ his films may appear to give voice to the Chinese-speaking masses in Singapore, especially those who have been marginalized by the state’s political economy, which clearly favours the educated and English-speaking milieu. For the Chinese-speaking masses, his films may even appear to act as a medium or outlet for ‘anti-state’ criticisms which they feel but cannot articulate, since criticism of the government is essentially prohibited here. However, as this essay will demonstrate, Neo uses such linguistic idioms only as a foil to further perpetuate government propaganda: he uses Chinese ‘dialects’ to draw his intended audience to his side, and once they are taken in, he persuades them to reconcile with unpopular government policies. In other words, Neo’s films constitute an extension of state politics via cinematic means, rather than an authentic political critique. As this essay also suggests, unveiling Neo’s manipulation of language in his films as such will be critical to uncover not only Neo’s underlying political intent, but also the unequal distribution that underlies the state’s language policies”

Partitions, identities and intercultural education: an exploration of some key issues -…


“This article attempts an initial exploration of the ramifications of geopolitical partition for identity in the context of children and their education. While not an exhaustive definition, partitions may be observed to follow armed conflict between human collectivities (nation-states, putative nations, ethnic groups, etc.) and are the outcome of treaties, armistices and unilateral action. Furthermore, a comparative and historical overview suggests that such macro-political action has clear micro-sociological impact, not least upon children and their families. While there may be some overlap with the creation of refugees this is by no means an automatic outcome of partition. On the other hand, an ‘imagined community’ with refugee status may be a consequence of conflict, the drafting of new geopolitical boundaries together with voluntary or forced migration. Here, in the context of children’s education, questions are posed regarding the disintegration of collective identity, the construction of otherness and the formation of new identities as manifested, inter alia, in the dynamics of nationality, language and religion. Inevitably, while the consequences of partitions set challenges for the possibility for intercultural dialogue they may also establish the possibility of new opportunities for the development of more inclusive identities.”

Intercultural education and the crisis of globalisation: some reflections – Intercultur…

critical literacy,globalization,education

“In this essay I reflect on the role of intercultural education in an emerging global crisis. Education systems are characterised by both divergent and convergent impulses. Divergent impulses include tradition, nationalism and religion. Convergent impulses (isomorphism) include science and technology, culture (including the English language), system compatibility and examinations and mobility (including the movement of ideas and the internet). The crisis of globalisation now seems to have four distinct elements: the economic recession, the new international order, hydrocarbon and other resource depletion, and climate change. Crisis is an over-used word but these are all fairly potent forces. What are the implications of these current and impending changes for intercultural education? Can schools and universities ever adapt and can they adapt quickly enough? The necessary curricular changes in schools and universities will involve the interaction of political power at crisis point with often traditionalistic epistemologies. It is possible to predict further international convergence and increased isomorphism but not how, or indeed whether, the crisis will be resolved.”

Girl game designers | Carolyn Cunningham NMS

critical literacy,new_media

“Educational programs designed to bridge the digital divide for girls often aim to increase girls’ technological literacy. However, little research has examined what aspects of technological literacy are highlighted in these programs. In this article, I provide a case study of a video game design workshop hosted by a girls’ advocacy organization. Through observations, interviews, and analysis of program materials, I look at how the organization conceptualizes technological literacy as contributing to gender equality. I compare this conceptualization to how technological literacy was taught in the classroom. Finally, I draw on situated learning theory to help explain how girls responded to the class. In the end, both the organization’s limited notion of how technological literacy could increase gender equality as well as gender and race differences between the teachers and the girls influenced girls’ participation in the workshop.”

Science as ‘Horrible’: Irreverent Deference in Science Communication – Scienc…


“Horrible Science is a popular UK-based brand of books, toys and magazines aimed at 7–11 year olds. At first sight, the term ‘horrible’ might be taken as embodying a critique of science and technology. However, a closer look reveals Horrible Science quite playfully twisting between positive and negative uses of the word, often transforming the latter into the former in the process. The horrible of Horrible Science is clearly signalled as fun. It is domesticated to undermine any sense of fear associated with its imagery. Moreover, the horrible of Horrible Science becomes related to an imagery of truth which is deferential to the work and social standing of the scientific community; it draws analogies between the horrible and science in terms of granting hardness, exclusivity, and even an intuitive closeness to nature. Horrible Science’s cultural critique of science and technology, as much as they exist, are accommodated within a traditional discourse of celebrating scientific achievements and deferring to its expertise. By sampling more irreverent discourses, Horrible Science offers a way to excuse a type of earnest reverence, delight and excitement for science that had become unfashionable by the end of the twentieth century. It packages science for sale to a ‘public’ who want to enjoy science and be seen doing so, but who are also aware of the advantages of their outsider identity. In Horrible Science, an irreverent deference is a form of quite ‘late modern’ science communication, one that feels the need to show awareness of critique and counter-arguments if it to be trusted by its critically aware audiences.”

Developing pedagogical practices for English-language learners: a design-based approach…

critical literacy

“This study draws on the application of sociocultural theory to second-language learning and teaching to examine the impact of a design-based research approach on teacher development and literacy instruction to English-language learners (ELLs). Design-based research methodology was employed to derive theoretical suppositions relating to the process of learning as well as the means by which this process is supported. Our research questions were: (a) How will this professional development model result in shifts in teacher thinking about language and literacy learning for ELLs; (b) what innovations in teachers’ repertoires of practice will be developed; and (c) in what ways will these shifts in teachers’ thinking and innovations in their repertoire of practice bring about new forms of language and literacy learning? Our findings point to the need to place development in the forefront of teacher professional development models. Also foregrounded is the importance of promoting teachers’ critical reflection on classroom practices and of creating hypotheses for pedagogical change vis-à-vis new understanding about students’ linguistic, cognitive and academic needs.”

The irony of ‘cool club’: the place of comic book 1 reading in schools – Jour…

“Comics and education is usually synonymous with low literacy levels, reluctant readers and a predominantly male audience. Through an ethnographic study of an extra-curricular Graphic Novel Reading Group set up in a secondary school, this paper questions such assumptions and discusses some of the complex issues around the place that comic book reading occupies amongst adolescent readers in educational institutions. It demonstrates the sophistication of their readings of comics through the value placed on form (Groensteen) but acknowledges that it is the marginal cultural position (Pustz) that comics still occupy in Britain which also constitutes much of their value for these teenage readers. The place of comic book reading in schools is thus problematized when one considers actual, as well as implied, readers.”

Complexity reduction, regularities and rules: Grappling with cultural diversity in scho…


“The cultural complexity of student populations presents major challenges for contemporary schooling in Western migrant nations such as Australia. While this has much to do with the diverse linguistic and ethnic backgrounds of students, other differences such as socio-economic status, family histories and gender add to this complexity. Yet, the complexities of education are not only a function of the cultural and social diversity of the student population. There are vast differences in students’ educational and physical capital which are related but not reducible to these diversities. Complexity is inherent in the culture and philosophy of schooling; the processes of becoming literate, numerate and learning how to learn. While students have diverse needs, there are common skills that must be acquired, skills that are requisite for effective social participation in contemporary globalized societies. The challenge for education, and for dealing with complexity in any field, is to avoid being reductionist in the process. This article explores approaches to navigating these complexities in educational policy and practice, highlighting the ways in which simplistic understandings can prove problematic and yet, how certain forms of complexity reduction are necessary in achieving goals of educational access and equity.”

Towards developmental world Englishes – BOLTON – 2011 – World Englishes


“ABSTRACT: Over the last three decades scholars promoting the world Englishes paradigm (WE) have worked towards establishing a more positive attitude towards international varieties of English. However, despite the best intentions of Western linguists working in this field, there is an obvious imbalance between the developed and developing world in many contexts of English language education. Educators and teachers in many Outer Circle and Expanding Circle contexts face difficulties in terms of conditions, facilities, and resources very different from those of Western institutions. Academics in developing societies have parallel difficulties in publishing research, both in journals and in books with international publishers, while local options for publishing are often restricted. This paper suggests a number of ways in which linguists and other scholars might begin to engage with a range of issues related to ‘developmental world Englishes'”

White Privilege, Language Capital and Cultural Ghettoisation: Western High-Skilled Migr…

critical literacy,race

“Drawing on the case of Taiwan, this article looks at high-skilled migration from the West to Asia. I explore how Western high-skilled migrants exert agency to negotiate their positions as non-citizens, privileged others and professional workers. I have coined the term ‘flexible cultural capital conversion’ to describe how English-speaking Westerners convert their native-language skills, as a form of global linguistic capital, into economic, social and symbolic capitals. Their privileged positions are nevertheless mediated and constrained by their class, nationality, race/ethnicity and gender. In the global context, whiteness is marked as a visible identity and the ‘superior other’. Such cultural essentialism functions as a double-edged sword that places white foreigners in privileged yet segregated job niches. Their flexibility in capital conversion and transnational mobility is territory-bound. Many experience the predicament of ‘cultural ghettoisation’ in the global South, and they often face grim job prospects on returning home to the North.”

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