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Connecting Transnational Literacies To State Standards

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By Author: jolin huang
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We understand that teachers must be mindful of state and local standards for English reading and writing, particularly those that are emphasized on tests. Here, we connect our examples to the Tennessee standards for high school English to show how this can be done, t is worth noting that we found variations on these game standards for Texas and other states.

A unit of instruction focused on community careers and their associated work literacies could easily flow from the inquiry we described above, addressing standards such as the ability to "communicate with a variety of audiences and for a variety of purposes, adapting language conventions appropriately Tag Heuer Replica according to context" (Tennessee Department of Education, n.d.).

Another activity could be to ask members of the community to interpret certain texts to see how understanding varies depending on individuals' backgrounds. For example, Collins and Slembrouck (2007) asked a Dutch-speaking monolingual, a Turkish-speaking monolingual, and a Dutch-Turkish bilingual to interpret signs found in an immigrant neighborhood in Ghent, Belgium. They found that "the relation between a sign form and its meaning can vary according to who is looking" (p. 337). As noted, students could present texts to readers who vary by language proficiency or by other characteristics such as age, gender, or level of schooling. Collins and Slembrouck found that their readers attributed particular characteristics to the producers of the texts, such as rural or urban backgrounds or particular educational levels. Such an activity might raise questions related to how language and literacy are used to classify individuals, groups, and even whole communities.

Additionally, students can create their own texts. Teachers could begin this activity by asking students when and for what purposes they read and write in their homes and communities. Discussion could center on the reading and writing practices necessary to pay bills, seek healthcare, pay income taxes, communicate with family members and friends in their country of origin, maintain automobiles, or run a household. Students can also generate lists of all the ways they have seen reading and writing used in their homes. They could select a type of text that aims to accomplish a communicative task important to them and work together to produce an example. This discussion could include consideration of which language(s) to write in (monolingual, bilingual, or multilingual), whether or not to include images, and if so, what kinds and where to place them in relation to the written text. This activity is consistent with standards calling for learners to recognize the differences between using print and nonprint media as a means of communication (Tennessee Department of Education, n.d.).

Students could also explore and discuss who their intended audience is and what outcomes they wish to accomplish through their writing. In producing their texts, students could decide how they wanted to display them to achieve their intended purpose. These activities match state standards pertaining to "communication with a variety of audiences and for a variety of purposes, adapting language conventions appropriately according to context" (Tennessee Department of Education, n.d.). Examples include a student-run translation service, computer graphics, selling personal items as they would on eBay or craigslist, as well as services for jobs often held by youth (e.g., babysitting, caring for animals, cutting lawns, cleaning services, delivering Tag Heuer Replica Watches groceries, shoveling snow). We think that these literacies lend themselves nicely to multimedia presentations, digitally elaborated by students and displayed in formats such as PowerPoint, Photostory, and YouTube. Teachers could develop such activities to address standards related to viewing and representing images, including projects that require students to "research, organize, interpret, and present information from print and non-print media" (Tennessee Department of Education, n.d.).

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