Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Literacies Teachers Need During #COVID19 – Not All Digital!

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It occurs to me that in order to support teachers in these times, we went about it wrong by focusing on tools and even pedagogy like how to modify assessments but meet learning outcomes still, when we should have maybe focused on less tangible values that are way more important.

I may expand on this post later, but for now, I think I need to offer this list and I made an effort to add links. Whereas I believe teachers of course need digital literacies in order to teach online, I think the priorities are warped and they need to focus on what’s most important first before they use the (needed) digital literacies. For example:

  1. Wellbeing/care literacy (I made this term up but I am sure there is a better term for it- managing their own wellbeing and that of their students – affective labor literacy (seeLee Skallerup Bessette and Hannah MacGregor annd Brenna Clarke Gray on that. On Care, see our slides on this from yesterday) and I was first introduced to Karen Costa‘s work on Trauma-aware/informed online teaching this week at #olcideate
  2. Equity literacy (see Gorski’s work and the work on Universal Design for Learning – see here). Paradox literacy (that something can privilege one marginalized group while disadvantaging another) and this I feel is well explained by Virtually Connecting‘s work on Intentionally equitable hospitality.
  3. Socioemotional literacy online (see Neil Selwyn on this, but the original go-to work on this I would say is addition of emotional presence to CoI by Martha Cleveland-Innes and Prisca Campbell does not get enough credit for this)
  4. Workload literacy– awareness of how much workload something can be or be perceived online. This workload calculator made me realize how we need to ask ourselves a lot when we imagine workload. It is not just # of pages but is content new to students, cognitively challenging, what do we expect them to do with it?
  5. Cultural responsiveness and I would generally just say responsiveness to students which includes keeping finger on the pulse of how students are feeling, what they’re thinking, and how it connects to what’s happening in real world then finding ways to integrate it into one’s teaching in authentic ways. The original work on cultural responsiveness comes from African American educators such as  Geneva Gay and Gloria Ladson-Billings’ Culturally Relevant Pedagogy. This is very different from student-centered teaching. Thanks go Carl Moore for reminding me of this term, which I talk about a lot in my PhD thesis but had not connected to the current situation. Esp useful for school as kids now learn from home, not a unified classroom environment.
  6. Humanizing/authenticity literacy– how to be your whole authentic human self online and help your students be, too (Michelle Pacansky-Brock on this).
  7. Big picture literacy beyond their own classroom. This piece by Laura Czerniewicz helps with that – the big picture of higher education and the financial implications.
  8. Fun literacy. I literally just made this one up, but I mean we need to figure out how to ensure we leave room for informal, social and fun third spaces in our teaching in between formal teaching and learning spaces. Here’s me talking about why that’s so important these days.
  9. Zoom fatigue literacy. Ok, no, kinda kidding with this one 😁

They’re all related of course, and relevant offline and beyond COVID-19,  but really so important now. One could argue that they are kinda covered by CoI model or at least the emotional presence aspect but I think the equity part is generally missing (though I argue for it in my article on feminist approaches to digital literacies). I also have an article coming out soon in JIME that I co-authored with Catherine Cronin and Rajiv Jhangiani where we discuss how to evaluate and convert Open Educational Practices to become more socially just. It is inspired by this work by Cheryl Hogkinson-Williams and Henry Trotter. Will link to it when that is ready. It is relevant here also.

3 Comments

  1. Challenges one to rethink how to provide ongoing academic staff development. Thanks, Maha

  2. It is so logical and instructors nowadays need to read this and trying to follow a nice well said model like this!

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