Literacy practices in everyday life and in second language education

Date: 28 February 2012 Time: 1 - 2 pm

Venue: C89, County South

Annika Norlund Shaswar, Umeň University, Sweden:

This presentation introduces an ongoing study on literacy practices in everyday life and in the domain of second language education. The participants are five Kurdish adults who are learning Swedish as a second language on a basic level in the school form SFI, Swedish for immigrants. The study starts out from earlier research where literacy is studied in its social context(Heath 1983, Barton & Hamilton 1998, Purcell-Gates 2007, Ivanič et al 2009). The aim of this study is to research connections, overlappings and dividing lines between the participants' literacy practices within the domain of second language education and literacy practices in other domains of their everyday life. The connections between literacy practices, values and identities are a central part of the study. Semi-structured interviews have been conducted with the participants and observations have been performed in their classrooms. The conceptualization and analysis of the literacy practices of the participants starts out from a conceptual framework containing different interacting aspects of literacy events. These aspects have been elaborated in earlier research within New Literacy Studies(Heath 1983, Hamilton 2000, Barton 2007, Ivanič 2009, Ivanič et al 2009). In the presentation I will focus on the analysis of interviews. Here the main focus is on what the participants convey about their literacy practices. The design of the analysis focused on content is inspired by ethnography (Hammersley & Atkinson 2007, Davies 2008) and to some extent by grounded theory (e.g. Strauss & Corbin 1990). When it comes to the identification connected to literacy practices, how the participants express themselves in the interviews is also researched. In other words their discursive strategies are also studied. For this purpose Critical Discourse Analysis is applied (Fairclough 1992, 2001). Four aspects which are central for analyzing identification in connection to literacy practices have been chosen: language choice, code switching, evaluative language, and pronouns and verbal suffixes which denote number and person. For the analysis of evaluative language, appraisal theory is also applied (Martin 2005).

In the presentation findings will be presented. These include the complexities and contradictions of the participants' identities in connection to literacy practices in the domains of their everyday lives inside and outside of the classroom.

Event website:


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Associated staff: Karin Tusting (Linguistics and English Language)

Organising departments and research centres: Educational Research, Lancaster Literacy Research Centre, Linguistics and English Language

Keywords: Language education, Literacies, Literacy practices