Literacy practices in the learning careers of childcare students

Smith, June, Satchwell, Candice orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-8111-818X, Edwards, Richard, Fowler, Zoe, Gaechter, Joyce, Knowles, Joanne, Phillipson, Christine and Young, Rosheen (2009) Literacy practices in the learning careers of childcare students. Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 60 (4). pp. 363-375. ISSN 1363-6820

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This paper draws from the Literacies for Learning in Further Education research project, funded through the Teaching and Learning Research Programme. Drawing on the empirical study of literacy practices in eight Childcare courses in Scotland and England, we seek to demonstrate that, integral to the learning careers of students are literacy careers through which their learning is mediated. In the process, by drawing upon the lens of literacy, we also challenge some of the common sense understandings of learning in childcare. In particular we suggest that the literacy practices of lower level courses can be more diverse than those of higher level courses, producing confusing literacy careers for the students involved. We also point to the complexity of the literacy careers in childcare, given that students are required to mediate different aspects of their experience through literacy. In particular there are the mediations made possible by the use of information technology and those entailed in relating work placements to classroom practice. We argue that students on vocational courses have complex literacy careers and that a literacies approach to learning helps to reveal this complexity.

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