Friday, January 2, 2009

Literacy vs. skill

Skills are easily checked off of a list.

A few thoughts from a elluminate session today led by will Richardson and attended by many great educators around the world.

The discussion focused on Literacy and what that means. Some old discussion we have heard before and some new discussions as well.

Some snippets:

  • Skills are items that can be checked off of a list. Literacies are habits of mind. Literacy allows you to make sense of the world.
  • From @Sylvia: "I think a teachers job is to funnel down some of the messy world and help students navigate pieces that add up to a bigger idea."
  • From Angela Maiers: "I think the most telling interview question for a new teachers should be: Tell me about something you have recently learned"
  • There were many others, but the chat was fast and furious.
Before we say students don't want to learn, teachers need to ask themselves "What have they learned today?" Do we know enough of what the literacies are? Are there enough people who have mastered the literacies (those in the chat room have, but those that do not even know these discussions are taking place, or care, obviously have not.) How can these be defined as they are ever changing as the world changes? How can they be achieved in a system that is locked and unchanging? To know if one is literate would mean that skills are defined and therefore assessed - surely the deathknell of literacy (or is it?) One should argue that as long as school as we know it exists, this will be tough to pin down...


  1. Literacy as a habit of mind-hadn't thought of it that way.

  2. I am hoping more weigh in on thoughts about literacy. Really, what is it? And what does it look like? Are there different types of literacies or just the ability to be literate?