WOW Dozen: Responsibility to Others

By Kathleen Crawford-McKinney, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI

I have been thinking more intently on what it means to be responsible to others. What do we, citizens of the world, have the right to do, or be? Over the past several months we watched people being incarcerated for minor infractions or their cities and lands taken away from them. I wonder who has this type of right to act in these ways to others. Who is responsible for ensuring that these missteps don’t occur in places where people think differently than within our own communities? What would we do, or what should we do if our rights are stepped upon? Who is responsible for taking care of others?

Students in classrooms know their rights and question them within their families and school settings. I hope that they will also push themselves to be responsible to and with each other. To move beyond being kind to each other and to think more broadly about the world. In several of the previous months the themes of the Dozen has encouraged us to think more deeply about the current political world. This month continues with this focus by examining books where the characters look at being responsible to families, to communities, to our environment and to our world. Continue reading

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Invitation and Negotiation: K-12 Classrooms

By Marie LeJeune, Ph.D. & Tracy Smiles, Ph.D., Western Oregon University

Pages from The Librarian of Basra

Last week we presented a framework that, as we said, “reflects a mixture of our past experiences as literacy teachers, teacher researchers, and teacher educators, and our current perspectives on literary and pedagogical theories and how they might play out in practice.” We will use this framework to describe and reflect on some of those experiences in K-12 classrooms. Our framework revolves around three main aspects of the literacy invitation — the texts we choose, the literary theories we employ and ground our work within, and the actual pedagogical strategies and methods we engage in with students.

We also discussed how important it is for teachers and researchers to claim a theoretical framework that guides their work — this week’s blog focuses on Marie’s past work with 9th grade students at a time when she was first beginning to grapple with and attempt to adopt tenets of critical literacy within her own classroom practice and pedagogy. Marie was preparing to teach Farewell to Manzanar (Houston, 1973), a required text for the 9th grade students at the high school where she was teaching, and wanted to approach issues of multiple perspectives and issues and concerns related to impacts of war. A recent graduate course in critical literacy had inspired her to more fully embrace texts that offered possibilities for deconstructing issues of social justice and equity. At the same time, she was deeply grounded in her beliefs in the importance of response based pedagogy — of honoring the responses and experiences of individual readers (Rosenblatt, 1938).
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