Literacy practices in home and school: Methodological issues

Year: 1994

Author: Freebody, Peter, Ludwig, Christine

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Concerns about the nature of reading and writing, their values and functions in the social/economic life of a community, and how best to teach and assess them, have dominated debates about what constitutes literacy core competencies and how these might best be developed in homes, schools, colleges and workplaces.

In order to address some of these issues, a project is underway which involves a study of the literacy practices of students in the early years of schooling, of community members from a range of socio- economic backgrounds, and of the teachers working in schools in these communities. The project is being conducted by Griffith University in conjunction with the Queensland Department of Education and funded by the Department of Education, Employment and Training (DEET).

The first year of the project, which began in 1993, involved a close ethnographic study of the ideas and everyday practices and demands in and out of the early childhood classroom that shape the culture of literacy use connecting the practices in urban schools. These practices have been documented and described in an interim report. This, the second, year of the project involves further analysis and interpretation of the descriptive work of the first year.

The workshop will discuss the research methodologies of the project, the analytical procedures used to analyse the large corpus of data, interpretations and summaries of some of the data, and significant findings to date. Significant texts and interactions found from the study will also be examined to exemplify the analytical procedures and findings. Implications for school, classroom and community literacy practices will be explored.