Literacy and knowledge: classroom practice in the arts



Publication Details

Barton, G. & Freebody, P. (2014). Literacy and knowledge: classroom practice in the arts. In G. Barton (Eds.), Literacy in the Arts: Retheorising Learning and Teaching (pp. 93-110). Cham, Switzerland: Springer.


This chapter explores how knowledge is built in classroom practice in the setting of arts-based school lessons. It details the ways in which literacy is 'put to work' in everyday arts classrooms. One aim is to show that these arts-based approaches to literacy learning not only support students' content area knowledge, but also impact on the ways in which they can use this knowledge as they participate and create in their learning. Although literacy has become identified with standardised testing and educational competitiveness, this chapter aims to demonstrate how literate practice is as much a set of social practices as it is measurable skill. Teaching and learning in the arts provides a distinct set of such social practices, varying according to which of the arts is explored. Classroom examples from dance, drama and visual arts highlight these attributes in this chapter. We use an ethnomethodological approach to describe the types of literate practices worked up in classroom contexts.

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