In a world that requires us to be ‘literate’ is almost every aspect of our daily lives, the concept of teaching students to be literate outside of the typical expectation of the ability to read, is something that I feel is often left on the back burner. As someone who is striving to be a future educator, everyday literacy is something that I have not really had the opportunity to discuss until now, my 4th year at a university. In our society, we definitely need to know how to read and understand the many components of typically literacy, but is there more? How many other types or literacy should have mastered? 1, 2, or is the number infinite? I feel that the concepts of different types of everyday literacy can be a conversation that lasts forever. But when it comes down to it, I feel that there are a handful of key types of everyday literacy that should somehow be incorporated into the classroom setting.
Let’s start with media literacy. I feel that in a society that is consumed by technology, people are still technology/media illiterate. Students have the ability to always be connected to technology and yet they still seem to make ‘bad’ choices when it comes to using technology in school. In my observations, students struggle with choosing appropriate sources during research opportunities, they use text-speech when sending emails, and there seems to just be an overall difficultly with navigating the internet when not using social media. I feel that teaching students how to make smart and critical choices when using media, is something that can easily be incorporated into the classroom when you think about it. However, what I find challenging is how to incorporate the idea of technology literate and really have the students understand it when I myself often struggle with finding credible sources. How can educators full assist their students when they struggle with elements of technology themselves?
Another source of everyday literacy I feel that could be included in the classroom is social literacy. Or in other words, teaching students how to effectively and appropriately communicate with adults and peers. This is a world where students are glued to their phones and only seem to know how to communicate from behind a screen. But that does not really translate well in a face-to-face conversation. Students need to know how to communicate with their peers in different settings both within and outside of the school. But how does the typical educator find time to incorporate this concept into their everyday class? Do you set aside a special amount of time to discuss this? Does it just happen naturally? How do we teach students the importance of communication skills when they are too busy trying and ineffectively communication from behind a screen?
There are just two types of every literacy skill that I feel every student should have mastery of. However, there are certainly more types out there. But the big question here is how can teachers find and appropriately use their resources to teach their students these skills? Maybe this is something that naturally occurs in the classroom. But after taking the time to discuss this idea of everyday literacy in my classes, it still leaves me wondering how it can be done. So, I am simply a future educator seeking resources for future students to help promote their everyday literacy skills. I am just someone who is trying to create better students for our future society.