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Locke's 21st Multiliteracies for Students to change the world

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Using standards-based units of study, media literacy, and technology, our TIIP team developed 21st century literacy pedagogy to empower youth to become agents of change.


21st Century Literacies for Students to Change the World is a project that aims to support a team of English teachers at Locke High School to develop a 21st Century Literacies pedagogy that empowers youth to become agents of change in their communities through the development of standards-based units of study that advance students’ critical literacy, media literacy, and proficiency with the tools of technology. First, the team will receive extensive training from expert teachers, researchers, and organizations that know how to develop a 21st Century Literacies pedagogy that engages students as readers, writers, and co-creators of multi-media texts for the purpose of critically engaging with the world around them and creating change in their community. Then, through inquiry-based team meetings over the course of two years, teachers will present problems of practice, curriculum, and videos of teaching to analyze pedagogy from a 21st Century Literacies framework. 

In the second year, teachers focused on developing two community exhibitions that allowed students to demonstrate their learning of 21st Century Literacies and showcased  projects and products developed in our various units of study.  These exhibitions not only showcased student work, but was also an authentic context for our newly developed 21st Century Literacies pedagogy that was assessed by the community and our colleagues.


Animo Locke High School Team MembersThe team consists of four members working collaborative across two different schools. Jerica Coffey, Stephanie Cariaga, and Kathleen Hicks work at Animo Locke 1 High School, while Jane Tran works at Animo Locke III High school. They meet biweekly in order to create lessons, share student work, and reflect on their teaching practices.



Our TIIP project with UCLA is being completed at Locke I and Locke III High School in Watts. Ánimo Locke Charter High School was opened by Green Dot Public Schools as part of a transformation project. It is one of five small schools making up the Locke Cluster or what is intimately called the Locke Family of Schools.

Just as the other Locke schools, our schools are taking on a huge challenge by serving students in what some call the most underserved area of Los Angeles. The majority of students have been historically dispossessed. They have been told that their history and their culture do not matter, and that their experiences are not valued. In addition, there is also a lack of resources and support in our area, making it difficult for the community to thrive. The combination of inexperienced teachers and a historically, economically, and socially marginalized student population poses many challenges for us as a community of teachers.  

In this environment, our students live under multiple stressors such as those reflected in the video below:

Through this inquiry project we asked ourselves:

What is an appropriate form of literacy that is academically rigorous and humanizing/transformative, given this context?

 How do we develop multi-literacy pedagogy where youth can…

  • examine their own struggles with oppression?

  • confront the injustices that plague their communities?

  • cultivate spaces that provide internal/external healing?

Through our TIIP professional development we defined Critical Multiliteracy Pedagogy as...

an approach to literacy that engages 21st century tools and empowers students to transform their community by developing the capacity to critically analyze the world.



The following pages follow the trajectory of our project incorporating multi-literacies into the classrooms:

  • This page contains information about the professional development we participated in, as well as learning sessions with professors and teachers whose works are related to our topic of technology and literacies
  • This page contains grade-level projects including readings, assignments, and various classroom resources describing the social justice approach we use in our classrooms.
  • A rubric for assessing critical multilieracy projects. This rubric is a work in progress that attempts to articulate components of critical multiliteracies that we have learned can prepare students to use literacy as a tool for change.

This page contains readings and classroom resources such as handouts, theoretical frames we used with our students, and student work.


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