Literacy expert calls educators to rethink their approach to literacy

Dubai, 16th November, 2015 (WAM) – Literacy expert, Dr Edynn Sato, has called for educators to rethink their approach to literacy whilst delivering a keynote address at the 2015 International Conference on 21st Century Education. The Conference, hosted by the Higher Colleges of Technology and the 21st Century Academic Forum, focused on how applied learning can be utilised to better equip learners for life and work in the 21st Century.

The discussions hold relevance for the GCC region where governments and educators increasingly recognise the importance of endowing learners with 21st Century skills such as team work, communication and innovation – skills demanded by employers and the business world regardless of location or industry. A panel of experts at the Conference led a discussion about how fostering the uptake of these skills can improve the employability of school and university graduates in the Middle East, making them more effective and satisfied in their future careers.

Dr Sato believes that re-examining traditional views about literacy learning is essential to ensuring the current generation of school students is well prepared for the demands of future employment.

”We learn, work and live in a diverse and interconnected world. In order to effectively participate in and positively affect our life situations, we need competencies that enable us to keep pace with our ever-progressing global society. Literacy is foundational for such growth personally, socially, and economically,” said Dr. Sato, a Principal Research Scientist in the Center for Next Generation Learning and Assessment at Pearson’s Research and Innovation Network, located in San Francisco, California.

”As we navigate the opportunities and challenges of our 21st century society, we must expand our treatment of literacy and language learning from one that tends to focus on reading and writing (and on discrete linguistic features of academic language) to one that includes academic literacies. Academic literacies involve the development of making meaning from interactions and engagement in a given situation. These literacies are made up of the knowledge, skills, competencies and understandings that we should develop in order to be gain the literacy and language skills needed to facilitate success across multiple disciplines and contexts”.