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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Literacy-based Curricula in University Foreign Language Instruction: Perceptions from Non-Tenure-Track Faculty

  • Author(s): Menke, Mandy R.
  • et al.

Recent scholarship has underscored the need for a new paradigm in university foreign language programs and put forward literacy as a necessary curricular goal (e.g., Byrnes, Maxim, & Norris, 2010; Kern, 2000; Paesani, Allen, & Dupuy, 2016; Swaffar & Arens, 2005). In light of the high percentage of courses they teach, non-tenure-track faculty (NTTF) are instrumental to implementing new curricular paradigms. As such, knowing how they understand literacy and its role in foreign language education is essential to advancing the implementation of literacy-based pedagogies. This study reports on how non- tenure-track faculty conceptualized literacy during a 2.5 month Professional Learning Circle (PLC). Sociocultural and cognitive dimensions of literacy dominated the ways in which participants conceptualized literacy and its associated pedagogies; linguistic dimensions were backgrounded. Findings suggest that in order for a literacy turn to take hold, NTTF need opportunities to define relationships between language, culture, texts, and cognitive processes, and to differentiate literacy pedagogies from Communicative Language Teaching practices.

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