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Community-Based Multiliteracies and Digital Media Projects

Questioning Assumptions and Exploring Realities


Heather M. Pleasants and Dana E. Salter

Within community-based digital literacies work, a fundamental question remains unanswered: Where are the stories and reflections of the researchers, scholars, and community workers themselves? We have learned much about contexts, discourses, and the multimodal nature of meaning making in literacy and digital media experiences. However, we have learned very little about those who initiate, facilitate, and direct these community-based multiliteracies and digital media projects. In Community-Based Multiliteracies & Digital Media Projects: Questioning Assumptions and Exploring Realities, contributors discuss exemplary work in the field of community-based digital literacies, while providing an insightful and critical perspective on how we begin to write ourselves into the stories of our work. In doing so, the book makes a powerful contribution to digital literacies praxis and pedagogy – within and outside of community-based contexts.
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Chapter 9: Finding Voice: Building Literacies and Communities Inside and Outside the Classroom


← 180 | 181 → Chapter 9

Finding Voice: Building Literacies and Communities Inside and Outside the Classroom

Josh Schachter and Julie Kasper


What does it mean to find one’s voice? We—Julie Kasper, a public school educator, and Josh Schachter, a teaching artistcreated Finding Voice in 2006 at Catalina Magnet High School in Tucson, Arizona, as a literacy and visual arts program for refugee and immigrant youth in English Language Development (aka, ESL) classes. Catalina has the largest number of refugee students in Tucson Unified School District, and Arizona has the 8th-highest rate of refugee resettlement in the U.S. Through research, photography, writing and speaking out about critical social issues in their lives and communities, students develop their second language, literacy, and 21st century skills (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2013). Students direct the moves each class makes and the issues explored, and they decide how the work is shared and with whom. Finding Voice provides immigrant and refugee youth in a traditional public school setting—who are otherwise constrained by a four-hour model of English study required by Arizona state law—with critical opportunities for academic development, civic engagement and artistic expression.

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