Knowledge-making in a crisis: Literacy policy, pedagogy and practice during COVID
Gemma Moss, University College London
This keynote considers the challenges and possibilities that supporting literacy learning during COVID posed practitioners, researchers and policymakers and why and how their responses have been so different. Drawing on a sequence of research projects that focused on how primary schools in England dealt with the crisis and the knowledge they accrued as they adapted to novel conditions, the presentation will consider how to bring research, policy and practice into more productive dialogue in the interests of building a more resilient and socially just education system. This will include reflection on whether the pandemic created particular dilemmas for education systems that put curriculum delivery at the heart of their models of teaching and learning, as England does, and use testing to monitor curriculum delivery as their main mode of system accountability.
We are all semioticians
Navan Govender, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow
Researching teaching and learning literacy in digital times: Equity, participation and children
Annette Woods, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
Literacy education cannot be the panacea for all inequities in society, but literacy is a basic human right and critical in the drive toward achieving socially just education systems. Literacy is a social, material, and textual practice, and it is timely to remember that there is no one ‘best’ literacy program to solve the real and imagined problems of children’s literacy learning. However, we do know that providing access to diverse and balanced literacy learning and teaching opportunities, that foreground making meaning with print and digital texts, is achievable and should be an expectation of those in and around schools. In this presentation, I will draw on a number of research projects that have been conducted in schools in communities of high poverty and increasing cultural diversity, and that demonstrate the power of researchers, school leaders, teachers, children and their families and communities working together to ensure all children have access to quality literacy education for current times. There will be a focus on exploring what children can tell us about their rich literate lives, and how being interested in this might interrupt the resilient deficit discourses that permeate schooling.
LOST AND FOUND IN A BOOK – How books can give us the world
Natasha Farrant is the author of ten books for children and young adults, including the Costa Book Award winner VOYAGE OF THE SPARROWHAWK. From 2017 to 2019, she also spent two years studying the relationship between psychotherapy, creativity and play at the Institute for the Arts in Therapy and Education. This included a year’s placement in a London primary school, where she ran workshops on creative writing as well as working with children in smaller groups. Drawing on her own experience as a writer and reader, as well as on her encounters with children during her placement, she will explore how stories enhance our understanding of ourselves and of others, and how ultimately make-believe can help us connect more profoundly with the world.
What exactly is the magic that happens when we read a book we love? How does it enhance our understanding of the world? Why is storytelling such a fundamental part of the human experience? How are we changed when the storyteller has finished?
After our Gala Dinner on the Saturday evening, we are lucky enough to be able to welcome John with ‘I am Poetato’ – an alphabet of creatures in song and in verse. A session with audience participation – you may be invited to become guillemots in search of food, and to sing along in part harmony!