Carlos Peláez (1), Manuel Palomares-Valera (2), Ana Rivas (2), Paula Sánchez (2), Pilar Cucalón (2), Clara Herrero (2), Albano Calvo (2)

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain & Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain


Work drawing on a view of literacy as social practice argues that educational success is tied to familiarity with and mastering of certain official school-type literacies. More broadly, certain sociological approaches have understood this relationship in terms of school ‘culture’ versus out-of-school ‘cultures’, in which a key element in the configuration of these cultural fields is a particular orientation to print and literacy. Both traditions consider that the educational system favors a particular conception of literacy with which only some students are initially familiar thanks to their out-of-school experiences. In other words, from this perspective family and other out-of-school contexts provide literacy experiences that play a key role in student’s educational trajectories and, more broadly, in the reproduction of socio-educational inequalities. Consequently, research has turned its attention to student’s out-of-school literacy experiences and contrary to more traditional sociolinguistic approaches, this work has found that there are multiple non-formal literacy practices children and adolescents engage in and that these: (a) can have a complex relationship with school literacy and academic success; (b) are not easily correlated and reducible to student’s social-class or ethnic background.

Most of the above is based on ethnographic and qualitative studies. From these studies several hypothesis about the relationship between literacy practices, academic trajectories and family background can be formulated and explored through large-scale survey data and quantitative analysis. In this poster we present the results of a survey study of adolescent’s reported literacy practices, based on broad list of reading and writing practices documented in the existing literature. The survey also contained questions about the respondent’s educational experiences, academic aspirations and achievements and different family background variables. We collected approximately 2400 surveys from students enrolled in each of the four years of Spanish compulsory secondary education (ESO), when students are between 12-16 years of age, from a representative sample of 30 Madrid (Spain) secondary schools - the sites were selected to represent the variability in Madrid’s schools in terms of percentage of immigrants students enrolled in the school, the school’s public or private charter and the different districts that compose the city. Our analysis focuses on three research problems: (1) to identify the range of literacy practices the adolescents in our sample claim to engage in; (2) to identify types/clusters of students based of the particular configurations of their literacy practices; (3) to examine potential relationships between these literacy practices, groups of students, their family background and their academic profiles. Through factor analysis we have identified eight factors that group various domains of non-academic literacy practices and a cluster analysis has identified three groups of students characterized by engaging in different types of literacy practices. The final analysis will attempt to explore relationships between these clusters, student’s background variables and their academic profiles. Our results will be discussed in relation to: (a) a view of literacy as a diverse social practice tied to different levels of the institutional and social system; (b) the relationship between our type of findings and analysis and ethnographic research on the same topic.

Session: POSTERS:Focus on language policy, literacy, education, identity
Saturday, April 5, 2008, 13:00-15:45
room: foyer