Socially responsible literacy education: toward an ‘organic relation’ to our place and time
University of Sydney
This chapter outlines some meanings of ‘social responsibility’ in the area of literacy education. It suggests that the term be taken to lead educators toward reconsidering their students, their own practices, and their educational materials and assessments in two ways: across place (the variety of lived social conditions that they and their students inhabit) and through time (the role of literacy education in connecting their own and their students’ past, present and future). This chapter turns ﬁrst to the past to examine social responsibility as a key to the connection between literacy and schooling, and then to some available scenarios of futures for schooling, to draw out their differing implications for literacy educators, and the role of knowledge in learning and schooling. A particular focus is the role of literacy education in the acculturation of youngsters into the powerful curricular forms of knowledge and discourse around which secondary education is built. The argument is that students come to engage the speciﬁc literacy demands of the various curriculum areas from the middle primary years onward. Their participation in their own secondary schooling and in their further education and training depends crucially on how well they can engage these high-stakes literacy demands. Further, however, their efﬁcacy as citizens who belong when and where they are, and who act effectively with an understanding of that sense of belonging, also relates strongly to their literacy capabilities.