Literacy Practices in the Learning Careers of Childcare Students


Smith J, Satchwell C, Edwards R, Miller K, Fowler Z, Gaechter J, Knowles J, Phillipson C & Young R (2008) Literacy Practices in the Learning Careers of Childcare Students. Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 60 (4), pp. 363-375.

This paper draws from the Literacies for Learning in Further Education research project, funded through the Teaching and Learning Research Programme. Drawing on the empirical study of literacy practices in eight Childcare courses in Scotland and England, we seek to demonstrate that, integral to the learning careers of students are literacy careers through which their learning is mediated. In the process, by drawing upon the lens of literacy, we also challenge some of the common sense understandings of learning in Childcare. In particular we suggest that the literacy practices of lower level courses can be more diverse than those of higher level courses, producing potentially confusing literacy careers for the students involved. We also highlight the complexity of the range of literacy practices in Childcare, which can go unrecognized as requiring explicit tuition, and unacknowledged even when students use them appropriately. Courses in Childcare are textually mediated in many different ways, which vary depending on the level of study. A greater acknowledgement of this multiplicity and diversity could lead to more appropriate forms of assessment, and more relevant ways of interpreting the curriculum. We argue that students on vocational courses have more complex literacy careers than is often assumed and that a literacies approach to learning helps to reveal this complexity.

Literacy practices; Learning careers; Further education; Literacy careers; Childcare

Journal of Vocational Education and Training: Volume 60, Issue 4

Publication date31/12/2008
PublisherTaylor & Francis