1. Explain 1) your understanding of literacy and numeracy; 2) why a subject-specific understanding of literacy and numeracy is crucial to successful learning of the subject.
Consider the following points in your explanation:
• the functional model of language, in particular concepts such as register and genre
• literacy capability in terms of
o the overarching literacy processes of comprehending texts through reading, viewing, and listening, and composing texts through speaking, writing, and creating
o the four areas of literacy knowledge that are used in the overarching literacy processes – text knowledge, grammar knowledge, word knowledge, and visual knowledge
• numeracy capability in terms of the elements of numeracy and the model of numeracy for the 21st century
2. Select one content description (if you are using the Australian Curriculum) or learning outcome (if you are using the NSW state syllabuses) in your subject area and describe the literacy and numeracy demands associated with the content description or learning outcome. Then show how you would engage with these literacy and numeracy demands to help your students achieve the learning of the content description or learning outcome.
3. Prepare a list of the references you cite in your essay. Submit your reference list as a separate file. Your reference list will not be counted in the word count. You in-text referencing will be counted in the word count.
It has been argued by some that literacy and numeracy are inert terms with no growth or alteration therein. Literacy and numeracy, as outlined in this paper, are evolving contexts that adapt with the multimodal societies around them. My aim is to provide a holistic view of literacy and numeracy, explore how subject-specific literacy and numeracy are crucial in the successful learning of religious studies, promote the development of 21st century skills to 21st century learners in order to better integrate students in to the society they live in. And finally, provide a systematic approach to cover the literacy and numeracy demands within context.
Literacy at a glance:
Literacy and numeracy previously had static definitions with no scope or reach. Literacy, as a term, is a derivative from the Latin word ‘literatus’/’litteratus’ (literate) meaning educated, instructed and having knowledge of letters; it is dated to be circa 15th century. The word literacy is a tendril of this with the addition of the suffix ‘-cy’, however it is dated as early as 17th century denoting the ability to read and write. The word numeracy conversely, originated much later in 1957 from the Latin word ‘numeratus’ (number) patterned on the model of “literacy”. (“literacy | Origin and meaning of literacy by Online Etymology Dictionary”, 2018) It was therefore, defined by the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) as that which involves comprehending texts through listening, reading and viewing, composing texts through speaking, writing and creating and ultimately promoting the skills to augment language to suit an intended purpose via all multimodal mediums in visual, audial or written forms. (ACARA, 2018) It is understood thus, that literacy in general, is to have the capability of comprehending and construing language to make meaning, while possessing the ability to communicate one’s inner emotions in a way that can be seen as confident and precise to one’s intentions.
Sociographical aspect of literacy:
In today’s global multimodal society though, the terms have more meaning than ever before with societies interpreting them in accordance to need and sociographic setting. Professor Michael Halliday, a modern-day linguist, epitomises this in his grammatical theory which categorises language as a social semiotic resource when writing: “A language is a series of redundancies by which we link our ecosocial environment to nonrandom disturbances in the air (soundwaves).” (Halliday ; Matthiessen, 2004), (Gee, 2003) A similar sentiment was expressed by Edward Sapir, an American anthropologist-linguist, almost a century earlier, in his work titled: “Language and Environment”. He argued that: “It is the vocabulary of a language that most clearly reflects the physical and social environment of its speakers.” (Sapr,1912) It can hence be reasoned, that the definition of literacy and numeracy maintain meaning defined by the social demographic for which they are intertwined. This leads to the ideological model of literacy, or multiliteracies nowadays, where literacy practices in a community apprentice the construction of identities in young subordinates. This surmisal comes not as a shock as such examples can be seen in day-to-day lives from within the social circles one associates with. (Gee, 1996) Literacy, or lack thereof, is a direct result of the coterie one is exclusive to and will amend inevitably with variation.
Literacy and numeracy within Religious Studies framework:
The meaning of literacy and numeracy within the religious education sector hence, has a contextual meaning rather than a strict disparate meaning. The meaning of literacy consequently includes the understanding and elucidations of religious texts (scriptures and commentaries), jargon and relative words and phrases. Such examples are numerous and ubiquitous in modern religious-literate societies as opposed to religious-illiterate ones. Some common examples of phrases and words include ‘apostle’, ‘atone for sins’, ‘Mount Sinai’, ‘omniscience’, ‘sacrifice’ and ‘Sufi’. In addition, the common theme with scripture-based discourse is that of narrative or command style and is always static, or frozen, in nature (Joos, 1962). It is similar with respect to particular verses and chapters for which modern day meanings may be resolved. Numeracy on the other hand when juxtaposed, is the clarifications of religious dates, timelines, numbers in scripture and their denotations (such as Bible references), symbols like those of stars, crescents, crucifixes and the like, as well as the contemplation of maps and geographical environments through their associated (relationship) meanings with the text they are in. Therefore, resulting in the ability to make decisions and judgements based on the information. (Crowe, 2010), (Geiger et al., 2014), (All Things St. Claire’s Comprehensive, 2016) The intended meanings of literacy and numeracy can thus, be deduced to be very different from the original meanings of being able to read, write and compute basic math problems. If such a definition was to be applied to the study of religious education, it would result in the inability to contexualise the literature albeit having the ability to read and write with aptitude for religious studies.
The difficulties faced by teachers and students in the religious studies sphere relating to literacy are just as complex as those in the numeracy aspects. The first challenge faced is that few teachers are focusing on religious areas compared to those of other fields and therefore, very few teachers are competent enough to teach religious studies to a high degree. Then, the literacy demands faced by teachers and students change as students move through the schooling system as the texts and commentaries will vary and become more theoretical and specialised throughout the years. (Moore, 2014) The intricacy of the texts is further affected by the density of ideologies and theoretic that may not be well grasped by either student or teacher. Such demands are only met when textual knowledge, grammatical knowledge, intercultural and contextual knowledge align within the reader or writer. The numeracy facet concurrently relates generally, to the capacity to construct and reflect on information in timelines, scriptural references and appropriate maps and diagrams. Such examples are prevalent in every religion and scripture from symbols to religious holy sites. Vince Geiger et al. (2015) assembled a model to aid teachers in the enhancement of learning across the curriculum which will be very useful if implemented accurately when teaching about religion.
Application of a systematic model for 21st century learners:
The topic of focus is the story of Moses in Abrahamic faiths. I have chosen this because it is relatable through the three Abrahamic beliefs and many derivations can be taken from it. It is seen as a narrative of devotion, sacrifice and selflessness to which every student (and teacher) can find meaning.
It must be noted here, that religious studies is a subject that must be viewed through different perceptions and dated commentaries on original sources must be taken in to consideration when making judgements.
Constructing an educational atmosphere:
It is to be emphasised in the first lesson, or session, that the main learning outcome is: a. to establish a learner-centered environment for all; b. to create an unbiased view of religions and scriptures; and c. to integrate religious studies in to other fields (biodiversity).
The first class will be an introduction to the program with some basic questions surrounding preexisting knowledge. A group activity of two-four students will be set where students are required to write down any former knowledge in dot points and what they plan to take away from the class. Then finally, a class response dialogue as to the modes of learning best suited to the topic with discussion of integrated ICT aspects (interactive graphs, diagrams, possible individual or group project). Furthermore, a discussion as to the lenses one may approach the study with.
Cultural view to religious studies:
A cultural standpoint will be in order to eradicate any religious bias tendencies. For example, common vocabulary used within all three scriptures will be used interchangeably with no preference given. Subsequently, lending a neutral approach to the topic. It also important for students to recognise that many biases are relative to certain individuals and allow students to draw on their contextual knowledge to shape their own philosophies; without creating a context it is possible to engender anxiety and defensiveness over specific issues. The ultimate objective here is to create a viewing periscope through which students can analyse a religious situation and confront it culturally rather than emotionally (within a context). An application of this may be to construct a historical map of Egypt detailing the journey made by Moses and his followers with accurate terminologies and designations including measurements and distances.
Integration through religious studies:
With the foundations set, the theme of religion will continue to be discussed throughout the course. The course will offer students several opportunities to analyse religion in shaping societies/cultures within the historical context and today’s modern world. This might be achieved through worksheets and classroom discussions about the themes covered. Furthermore, it will give them the chance to distinguish between religion as devotional and spiritual practices and religion as a source for geosocial morals and norms.
The discourse, for example, in scriptures are of two main categories: a. narrative and b. command. This format is then emphasised with the use of register. Martin Joos described the language of religious scripture, such as Biblical quotations, as unchanging and “frozen”.
will be unable to read, learn, understand and teach religious education without being “literate” in these aforementioned fields.
In this essay I aim to provide a holistic view of literacy and numeracy within subject-specific learning outcomes and the demands that religious studies in particular requires one to have.
and strictly referred to the comprehension of words, while numeracy refers to the ability to compute basic sums that may occur in day-to-day life.
Literacy is the nomenclature used to describe two key components: a. Comprehending and interpreting texts, b. Composing texts whether that is through the visual medium, writing or speaking
All Things St. Claire’s Comprehensive. (2016). Numeracy In Religion Image. Retrieved from https://allthingsstclarescomprehensiveleitrim.weebly.com/religion/numeracy-in-religion
Citizenship Advisory Group. (1998). Education for citizenship. London: Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. Retrieved from https://www.teachingcitizenship.org.uk/sites/teachingcitizenship.org.uk/files/6123_crick_report_1998_0.pdf
Crowe, A. (2010). What’s math got to do with it. Numeracy and social studies education.
Derewianka, B., ; Jones, P. (2016). Teaching language in context (2nd ed.). South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
Downes, W. (1998). Language and Society. 2 Nd Edition (2nd ed., pp. 1-15). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Gee, J. (2003). Literacy and Social Minds (2nd ed., pp. 3-14). Frenchs Forest: Pearson Education.
Gee, J. (1996). Social linguistics and literacies: Ideology in Discourses (2nd ed.). London: Taylor ; Francis.
Halliday, M., ; Matthiessen, C. (2004). Halliday’s introduction to functional grammar (3rd ed., p. 26). New york: Oxford University Press Inc.
Help your students master the new GCSE literacy demands. (2018). Retrieved from https://medium.com/national-literacy-trust/help-your-students-master-the-new-gcse-literacy-demands-6557fff54ae3
Joos, M. (1962). The five clocks (1st ed.). Bloomington Ind..
Learning progressions | Curriculum. (2018). Retrieved from https://education.nsw.gov.au/teaching-and-learning/curriculum/literacy-and-numeracy/teaching-and-learning-resources/learning-progressions
Literacy. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/general-capabilities/literacy/
Literacy online. (2018). Retrieved from https://literacyprogressions.tki.org.nz/Introduction/Understanding-the-literacy-demands-of-the-curriculum
Literacy | Origin and meaning of literacy by Online Etymology Dictionary. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.etymonline.com/word/literacy
Moore, D. (2014). Overcoming Religious Illiteracy: Expanding the Boundaries of Religious Education. Religious Education, 109(4), 379-389. doi: 10.1080/00344087.2014.924765
Numeracy. (2018). Retrieved from https://australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/general-capabilities/numeracy/
Numeracy in Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies. (2015). Retrieved from http://parkmains.com/rmps/numeracy-in-religious-moral-and-philosophical-studies/
Prothero, S. (2014). Religious literacy. Place of publication not identified: HarperCollins e-Books.
Religion Curriculum P-12. (2018). Retrieved from http://www.rec.bne.catholic.edu.au/Pages/Religious-Education.aspx
Religion, spiritual inspiration vocabulary, Religion, spiritual inspiration word list – www.myvocabulary.com. (2018). Retrieved from https://myvocabulary.com/word-list/religion-spiritual-inspiration-vocabulary/
Religious Studies Course Famework. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.bsss.act.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/321584/Religious_Studies_Course_Framework.pdf
Roberts, S., & Winters, J. (2012). Social Structure and Language Structure: the New Nomothetic Approach. Psychology Of Language And Communication, 16(2), 89-112. doi: 10.2478/v10057-012-0008-6
Sapir, E. (1912). Language and Environment. American Anthropologist, 14(2), 226-242. doi: 10.1525/aa.1912.14.2.02a00020
Special Religious Instruction. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/principals/spag/curriculum/Pages/sri.aspx