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Unit information: Language, Literacies and Identities in 2020/21

Unit name Language, Literacies and Identities
Unit code EDUC30041
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Giampapa
Open unit status Not open

EDUC10003 Learning Lives



School/department School of Education
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This unit provides an overview of the study of language and literacy practices to be found within society and across multilingual contexts. Students will examine the interconnectedness of language and literacy practices and their role in the construction of identities. They will consider multilingual and multiliterate approaches to the study of language and literacy that capture linguistic and cultural diversities that mark 21st century learning, including the impact of digital practices. They will explore how local, global and transnational language and literacy practices interconnect over the life course.

The aims of the unit are to enable students to:

  • Recognise the role language and literacy learning play in a diverse society
  • Develop their awareness of the links between identity and multilingual language and literacy practices and how these change over the life course
  • Discuss some of the key concepts that account for the ways in which the local and the global interact in shaping language and literacy practices over the life course

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

1. critically distinguish between the main concepts and theories that underpin research on language and literacy as social practices and the formation of identities

2. recognise and evaluate the different debates within the literacy field about the relevance of local and transnational literacy practices and how they shape multilingual and multiliteracies practises in and outside classroom contexts

3. present a well-argued interpretation of how debates on language and literacy practices apply to their own experience

4. critically engage with a key reading putting it in conversation in the wider academic debates; and to develop interactive activities to be shared with peers in order to deepen understanding.

Teaching details

This unit will be taught using a blended approach consisting of synchronous and asychronous activities that include: seminars, narrated powerpoint lectures, investigative activities, debates, presentations. Students will be expected to engage with readings and participate on a weekly basis.

Assessment Details


ILO 1-4: A 1, 500 word written critical refection of an article related to the themes of the unit uploaded to the online forum (50%)

ILO 1-4: A 1,500 word student-led activity around a key theme of the unit (50%)

Reading and References

Essential Reading

Cummins, J., & Early, M. (Eds.) (2011). Identity Texts: The Collaborative Creation of Power in Multilingual Schools. Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham.

Martin-Jones, M. & Jones, K.(Eds.) (2000). Multilingual Literacies: Reading and Writing Different Worlds. John Benjamins: Amsterdam

Pahl, K. & Rowsell, J. (2012). Literacy and Education: Understanding New Literacy Studies in the Classroom. London: Sage.

Street, B. V. ed. (1993) Cross-Cultural Approaches to Literacy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Recommended Reading

Barton, D., & Hamilton, M. (2012). Local literacies: Reading and Writing in One Community. Abingdon: Routledge. (Routledge Linguistics Classic Edition).

Brandt, D., & Clinton, K. (2002). Limits of the local: Expanding Perspectives on Literacy as a Social Practice. Journal of Literacy Research, 34, 337–356.

Gregory, E. & Williams, A. (2004). City Literacies: Learning to Read Across Generations and Cultures. Abingdon: Routledge.

Helot, C., Sneddon, R. and Daly, N. (eds) (2015) Children’s Literature in Multilingual Classrooms: From multiliteracy to multimodality. London: IoE Press / Trentham Books

Lotherington, H. and Jenson, J. (2011) Teaching Multimodal and Digital Literacy in L2 Settings: New

Literacies, New Basics, New Pedagogies. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 31, 226-246.

Lotherington, H. (2011) Pedagogy of Multiliteracies: Rewriting Goldilocks. New York: Routledge.

Lundby, K. (ed.) (2008) Digital Storytelling, Mediatized Stories: Self-representations in New Media. New York: Peter Lang.

Lytra, V., Martin, P., Baraç, T. and Bhatt, A. (2010) Investigating the intersection of multilingualism and multimodality in Turkish and Gujarati literacy classes. In V. Lytra and P. Martin (eds) Sites of Multilingualism: Complementary Schools in Britain Today, pp.19-31. Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham Books.

Rowsell, J. & Pahl, K. (2015). The Routledge Handbook of Literacy Studies. Abingdon: Routledge.

Sheridan, M.P. & Rowsell, J. (2010). Design Literacies: Learning and Innovation in a Digital Age. London: Routledge.

Street, B.V. (1984) Literacy in Theory and Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sefton-Green, J. & Rowsell, J. (Eds.) (2015). Learning and Literacy Over Time: Longitudinal Perspectives. Abingdon: Routledge.