Valorising student literacies in social work education: pedagogic possibilities through action research

Britta Schneider, Angela A. Daddow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


As higher education has shifted from an elite to an internationalised and massified system, we can no longer assume that students entering Western universities are familiar with the multiple literacy expectations of the university and professional worlds. Students are required to negotiate between different literacy practices, imbued with differential power in their everyday, disciplinary and professional settings. This paper argues that diverse students’ literacies can be valorised and harnessed as assets for learning. The authors re-designed curricula in the Bachelor of Social Work in an Australian university making elite codes explicit; using students’ everyday literacies as a bridge to new knowledge; and introducing the notion of ‘code-switching’ between literacies. The authors found that both disciplinary learning and the acquisition of multiple literacies were enabled, without colonising students in more dominant literacies. We encourage the exploration of such learning spaces in other disciplines, to build socially inclusive pedagogies which resource all students equitably in a massified education system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-170
Number of pages14
JournalPedagogy, Culture and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • academic literacies
  • code-switching
  • collaborative curriculum development
  • Diversity in higher education
  • socially inclusive pedagogies

Cite this