Papers & Workshops



Brokers and Boundary Objects: Identity and Literacy in the Middle Years


Rod Maclean

Faculty of Education, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia

This paper explores the implications for multiliteracies pedagogy of Etienne Wenger's work on learning and identity in his recent Communities of Practice. It takes as a starting point the premise that literacy learning always requires students to assume new and often uncomfortable identities, and that middle years students' literacies reflect the struggle to manage 'multimemberships': multiple and conflicting identities, allegiances and community memberships. A central role for the literacy educator is to help students come to terms with these demands through the processes which multiliteracies pedagogy refers to as 'Critical Framing' and 'Transformed Practice'. Based on work in progress as part of the Deakin University Middle Years Literacy Research Project, this paper explores the pedagogical implications of some Wenger's key concepts, particularly the notions of 'boundary objects' and 'brokers' as mediators between the conflicting worlds of school, work, home, the peer group and popular culture.
  Presentation Format: 45 min. paper

RMIT, Melbourne, Australia

5-9 July 2000