Monday, January 26, 2015

Starting A New Chapter: 21st Century Literacy
Im back! I will admit that at the end of last term I was contemplating the idea of continuing this blog; however, life got a little busy and I but it on the back burner. Therefore, I am quite happy to be writing blogs again for another education class at Brock University. This next set of blogs will be more focused on concepts I am learning relating to 21st Century Literacies and the different ways that we can integrate them into our own teachings. To start off I will admit that I didn't know very much about 21st Century Literacies when I signed up for this course. I originally thought that it would maybe deal with English literacy, and somehow relate to my teachable subjects English and Drama. Although I was quite wrong on the English side, I do now realize that all the different literacies we will be examining throughout the term have broad implications for every teachable subject and every learner.
         This week, I was asked to prepare a presentation surrounding financial literacy. Now when I chose this topic, I didn't really put much thought into it and upon further reading I realize that my breadth of knowledge in this specific literacy is very limited. Furthermore, there was a very poignant example in an article by Adrianna Kezar and Hannah Yang entitled "The Importance of Financial Literacy" that centred around a fictional University student and the financial problems he found himself in. In this article Kezar & Yang discuss "James" a student who eventually drops out of his University as a result of financial hardships. Kezar and Yang cite poor budgeting, understanding of economy and ultimately poor financial literacy for James' problems. Although the article continues to discuss procedural adjustments useful to University and College students already at school, we can also look at financial literacy and education as important starting as early as grade 1. Financial literacy is more than a ideal to financial problems, but rather the purpose of financial literacy is to act in a preemptive, preventative fashion, saving students from issues later on in life.
         Here  is an info graphic that outlines the current American economic status, especially in young people. As you can see, by factoring in the current trends and problems with finances (especially in young people and their habits) it is important to develop financially literate citizens to foster a more positive financial economy. At this point in our  economic states, it seems as if financial literacy  is more important than ever. 
Financial literacy itself can be defined as "“The improved understanding of financial products, services and concepts so students are empowered to make informed choices, avoid pitfalls, know where to go for help and take other actions to improve their present and long term financial wellbeing" (Kezar & Yang 2010). To further understand how financial literacy can be integrated into the classroom, check out this youtube video that was located on Edutopia.
I bet you're wondering why I have gone into so much detail about financial literacy! Well firstly, it is fresh in my mind and something that I really wanted to talk about. But secondly, financial literacy in itself is something that was lacking from my education. I am not sure if I missed out because I took more fine arts and social science based courses in high school (although the Ontario Ministry of Education outlines how to integrate financial literacy into all areas of learning) or simply it wasn't taught. But this is something that I know I struggle with now, and something that I wish my education had centred around. Budgeting, financing and bank loans are all areas in which I struggle to understand and excel in. Furthermore, at this point I personally feel very behind compared to my peers in understanding economy and how to keep finances in check. Just like all the other literacies we have studied so far, I would argue that financial literacy is an integral life skill, and that not being aware of the aspects of financial literacy can have a detrimental effect to overall quality of life. 
        I really look forward to learning more about the different 21st Century literacies, and how to integrate them into our future unit and lesson plans. Although these concepts are very new to me, I think that because they are so rooted in life skills with real life connections they will become incredibly important to our education as future teachers. 

1 comment:

  1. Allyson, this was a great first blog post! In addition to you, I had no idea what 21st century literacies were and how to even start implementing them into our future classrooms. I think it is important that as future educators we start to become familiar with literacies that can be included within various subjects and not just our “teachables.” Up until now, my courses here at Brock University have mainly been directed towards teaching strategies directly related to my future teaching subjects (Health and Physical Education) but I am excited that this course will offer us resources to utilize these literacies in a much broader category. It will be interesting to see how these literacies can all be connected without favouring one single subject. In addition, when I first read the words “financial literacy,” the only thing I thought of was the subject math, but after you went into further explanation I can see how it can be related to various aspects of teaching. The article you embedded into your blog was very interesting and after reading made me both really upset and intrigued. Many individuals in todays’ society have a much skewed image of money (plastic cards) and will find themselves in huge financial dilemmas…like James. Therefore, it made me realize the importance of teaching our future students about “financial literacy” earlier rather than later and it is not something to take lightly. Like you, if it was not for my parents and upbringing I was never educated on the importance of “financial literacy” and it is most DEFINITELY an important life skill. After watching the video and reading your blog, I am already starting to think of ways to implement financial literacy into my future classrooms (aka financial literacy bingo, financial stability in mental health), so thank you for informing me!