Boston – Freedom Trail: School Street – Boston Public Latin School – City Carpet (Flickr) by wallyg under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs Generic Licence
In my Twitter feed recently was a list of the 100 Most Creative People in Business 2013. Scrolling through the top 20 I saw titles like “Head of Design Strategy (Samsung), Actor, Creative Director, VP of Consumer Products (NFL), Charity Founder, Director of Concept Design (Starbucks), Research Scientist (Disney), Artist, Futurist (Ford Motor Co.),” to name but a few.
These are the storytellers of the 21st century. They have learned how to use many different media to convey messages of importance and thoughtfulness to our world. They are literate in rich, multidimensional ways. Their ability to create and manipulate ideas allows them to tell their stories in multiple and powerful ways.
One person in the list of 100 is a writer.
As an educator, I find this interesting. When I think about how of much of our school day is spent practicing the single literacy of text composition, this does not seem to correspond with the mutiple literacy skills that are needed to be successful in today’s world.
I am not saying we should abandon the teaching of writing. But it is only one of many literacies that children need to be able to use fluently. I think children would benefit from creative practice moving in, around, and between various literacies. In other words they need to be transliterate.
“Transliteracy happens in the places where different things meet, mix, and rub together. It is an interstitial space teeming with diverse life–forms, some on the rise, some in decline, expressed in many languages in many voices, many kinds of scripts and media. It is a world where print has a place, but not the only place” (Thomas et al., 2007, Really new media section, para. 6).
Making the move away from a text centric teaching space will be a challenge. For one thing, many educators, myself included, are not particularly transliterate. This was not the world in which we were taught. Though I am able to convey meaning easily with text, add images, design, and sound into the mix, and I am at a loss.
Perhaps this is where collaboration between teachers needs to happen. Could science, music, art, and language arts teachers collaborate? Think of the cross curricular, transliterate learning that would happen, not only for students, but teachers.