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Perspectives on Literacy in Education - EDU00008H

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  • Department: Education
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Clementine Beauvais
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24

Module summary

The main aim of the module is to understand the social embeddedness and the variety of literacy practices, the better to understand the centrality of that skill in education.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2023-24

Module aims

This module covers educational, social and cultural aspects of literacy. Some of the main questions addressed include: Is literacy solely about decoding words? What does it mean to be a literate person today? What are the different kinds of literacy skills that all children should be taught ? We look at the different ways of teaching reading, we explore the inscription of literacy practices within specific sociocultural contexts, and we discuss the plurality of contemporary literacies. We also reflect on our own practices as literate individuals, and how we became literate. When available, guest lectures offer case studies of literacy enhancement in para-educational contexts.

The main aim of the module is to understand the social embeddedness and the variety of literacy practices, the better to understand the centrality of that skill in education.

Module learning outcomes

Subject content – after completing this module, students should:

  • Understand what it means to be a literate person, and the individual and social processes behind that skill

  • Be familiar with contemporary forms of literacy beyond the written word

  • Have in-depth knowledge of the technical aspects of literacy and their cultivation through education

  • Have a critical understanding of various theories and conceptualisations of literacy and of their historical evolution

  • Be able to reflect sophisticatedly about the social and cultural prejudices and advantages associated with specific forms of literacy

  • Be able to think of non-traditional or creative ways to enhance literacy both within and outside of the classroom

Academic and graduate skills – students will:

  • Develop their research and analytical skills with preparations and reading for each session

  • Develop their communication skills with opportunities to present to the class

  • Critically evaluate their own experiences and development in the light of the knowledge garnered in class

  • Be able to write and think about, should they wish to do so, potential applications of the course in future teaching practices

  • Develop IT skills with the VLE

Module content

The course will cover such questions as: What is literacy? What do literate people do? How did I become literate?

We will also look at the links between literacy, cultural capital, class, gender and identity.

Visual and media literacy will be tackled, as well as the place of creative writing and reading for pleasure in one's literacy development.


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback

Written feedback on assignment report sheet and face-to- face feedback in supervisions. The feedback is returned to students in line with university policy. Please check the Guide to Assessment, Standards, Marking and Feedback for more information.

Indicative reading

Davis, A. (2013). To read or not to read: decoding Synthetic Phonics. Impact, 2013(20), 1-38.

Macedo, D. and Steinberg, S. R. (eds.) (2007) Media literacy: a reader. New York and Oxford: Peter Lang. D 1.243 MAC

Olson, D. R., & Torrance, N. (2009). The Cambridge Handbook of Literacy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. K 0.93 CAM

Spufford, F. (2003). The child that Books built: A life in reading. London: Faber. M 38.068 SPU

Reading is provided every week and in an overall bibliography at the end of the course outline.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.