Poetic Ethnography and Metaliteracy: Empowering Voices in A Hybrid Theater Arts Course

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Metaliterate Learning for the Post-Truth World

Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon, an Associate Professor at Temple University offers the following preview of her chapter: “Poetic Ethnography and Metaliteracy: Empowering Voices in a Hybrid Theater Arts Course’ appearing in the forthcoming book, Metaliterate Learning for the Post-Truth World.

When is a Theater arts course more than a theater arts course? How do we encourage students to “have voice”? In an age when “alternative facts” have become the new norm, how can theater and the theater studies curriculum give students agency to contribute to the discourse? Well… at Temple University, these days, its when faculty consciously use a metaliteracy lens to develop or improve their courses so as to encourage students to not just consume new knowledge but also to produce it and to distribute it through multiple modalities and across multiple platforms.

At Temple University in Philadelphia, the Theater Studies curriculum exemplifies the metacognitive domain of metaliteracy teaching students to effectively consume and produce new information in the form of devised theater productions, displays, press releases, exhibitions, community performances and critiques. One such course that goes a long way to introduce metaliteracy concepts into the theater curriculum is THTR 2008 Poetic Ethnography.

The course, THTR 2008 Poetic Ethnography operates as both ethno-drama and as a theater hybrid that incorporates several tightly structured field site audio and video digital storytelling projects into its 13-week curriculum. These projects encourage students to expand their knowledge base, investigate multiple forms of information gathering methodologies and to develop performative and distributive content across multiple cultural and social platforms.

Through the process of research and new knowledge production, students gain life-long learning skills about how to develop more nuanced, personal narratives that tell a more complete and factual story about communities, individuals and contemporary events. This chapter, then, looks at how Poetic Ethnography teaches students how to develop ethnographic and personal narratives set to poetry about Philadelphia neighborhoods and its people—giving voice to the sometimes voiceless in our communities, while simultaneously learning metaliteracy and metacognitive learning strategies.

Dr. Kimmika L. H. Williams-Witherspoon, Associate Professor

Department of Theater

Temple University

Metaliterate Learning for the Post-Truth World to be Published this Fall!

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Metaliterate Learning for the Post-Truth World

The forthcoming metaliteracy book Metalierate Learning for the Post-Truth World, edited by Thomas Mackey and Trudi Jacobson will be published this fall. Metaliteracy is a pedagogical model for ensuring that learners successfully participate in collaborative information environments, including social media and online communities. Today’s post-truth world requires learners to ethically produce and share information while checking their own biases, and critically evaluating the proliferation of false or misleading information, unfiltered content, and outright denialism of facts. Indeed, it is clearly evident that the competencies, knowledge, and attributes of metaliterate individuals are critical for grappling with the post-truth era. Metaliteracy supports reflective learning through metacognitive thinking, the ethical production of new knowledge, the critical consumption of information, and the responsible sharing of verifiable content across media platforms. Through metaliteracy, learners are envisioned as teachers in collaborative social spaces. This book examines the newest version of the Metaliteracy Goals and Learning Objectives, including the four domains of metaliterate learning. Several chapter authors explore the relationship between metaliteracy and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.

This new metaliteracy book includes a Foreword written by Troy Swanson, MLIS, Ph.D., Department Chair Library Services, Moraine Valley Community College and features persuasive contributions from information literacy instructors, librarians, and disciplinary faculty. All of the chapter authors present effective methods for advancing metaliterate learning in the post-truth world, exploring such relevant topics as:

Theory

  • Strategies for empowering metaliterate learners through the newly developed metaliterate learner characteristics and revised Metaliteracy Goals and Learning Objectives in the framing chapter by Thomas P. Mackey, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Arts and Media at SUNY Empire State College
  • Documentation as an expanded dimension of the metaliteracy model to reinforce ethical and responsible information practices examined by Marc Kosciejew, M.L.I.S., Ph.D., Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences in the Department of Library, Information, and Archive Sciences, University of Malta
  • Inoculation theory as a way to build resistance to influence in the post-truth world theorized by Josh Compton, Ph.D., from the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric at Dartmouth College
  • Scientific literacy enhanced as a holistic learning strategy through metaliteracy examined by Allison B. Brungard, M.L.I.S., from Slippery Rock University and Kristin M. Klucevsek, Ph.D., from Duquesne University
  • The synergistic relationship between text and image in photojournalism analyzed by Thomas Palmer, M.S., Digital Media Lecturer from the University at Albany, SUNY, and Editorial Design Director / News Editor at the Times Union newspaper

Practice

  • The role of LIS professionals in supporting metaliterate learning and the ACRL Framework in a chapter co-authored by Nicole A. Cooke, Ph.D., M.Ed., M.L.S., and Rachel Magee, Ph.D., M.A., from the University of Illinois
  • Teaching students to be wrong through lessons designed with metaliteracy and the ACRL Framework in a freshman seminar developed and taught by Allison Hosier, M.S.I.S., Information Literacy Librarian, at the University at Albany, SUNY
  • Developing metaliterate learners as analytical readers and writers through genre analysis and fictionality in first-year writing instruction as described by Jaclyn Partyka, Ph.D., in the English Department at Temple University.
  • Incorporating Poetic Ethnograpy and digital storytelling based on poetic narratives from neighborhoods in Philadelphia in the closing chapter by Kimmika L. H. Williams-Witherspoon, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Theater at Temple University

Metaliteracy is an empowering pedagogical model for preparing learners to be ethical and responsible participants in today’s divisive information environment. This new book showcases several teaching and learning theories and practices that have already proven effective and are certain to inspire new ideas. Metaliterate Learning for the Post-Truth World builds on the two previous metaliteracy books Metaliteracy in Practice (2016) and Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners (2014).

Comments Welcomed on Revised Metaliteracy Goals and Learning Objectives

The original set of four goals and accompanying learning objectives were developed in 2014 by members of the Metaliteracy Learning Collaborative with valuable input by others, as indicated in the Additional Contributors section of the Goals and Learning Objectives page. Over the course of the last several years, there have been significant changes in our information environment and with social media in particular, and in the ways that people interact with them. We felt that it was time to review the goals and learning objectives in depth. What followed were changes both substantive and minor, as well as some reorganization.

We invite you to review and comment on these changes through the Reply feature at the bottom of Goals and Learning Objectives page. We also welcome suggestions. Our goal is to finalize the revision by September 15. Thank you.

Recording of Metaliteracy Presentation at LSU Now Available Online

The recent presentation by Trudi Jacobson and Tom Mackey at LSU entitled Teaching Metaliteracy in a Post-Truth World is now available online via YouTube. If you have any follow-up questions or comments be sure to contact us.

Thanks to Dr. Carol L. Barry, Director of the School of Library & Information Science, and everyone at LSU, for welcoming us to campus as part of the College of Human Sciences and Education’s Quality of Life Lecture Series. Special thanks to Dr. Edward Benoit III, Assistant Professor from the School of Library & Information Science, for working with his team on producing the video.

Metaliteracy Presentation at LSU

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Trudi Jacobson, Carol Barry and Tom Mackey

Trudi Jacobson and Tom Mackey presented Teaching Metaliteracy To Empower Learners in a Post-Truth World at Louisiana State University (LSU) on April 13. The School of Library and Information Science in association with the College of Human Sciences & Education at LSU sponsored the talk as part of the Quality of Life Lecture Series. Dr. Carol Barry, Director of the School of Library and Information Science at LSU, invited Trudi and Tom to discuss metaliteracy as a pedagogical response to fake news and the post-truth world. Trudi and Tom included research from their forthcoming book Metaliterate Learning in the Post-Truth World for ALA Publishing (to be published in fall 2018) and introduced the draft revision of the updated Metaliteracy Learning Goals and Objectives.

 

Draft Revision of the Metaliteracy Learning Goals and Objectives Now Open for Comment

The metaliteracy learning goals and objectives have been revised for the first time since originally published in 2014. Trudi Jacobson and Tom Mackey will share the revised document as part of their next presentation, “Teaching Metaliteracy in the Post-Truth World,” at LSU’s School of Library & Information Science Quality of Life Series on Friday, April 13. The revision is also posted here on the Metaliteracy.org blog for wider distribution. Feel free to provide your feedback via the metaliteracy.org comments section. In many ways, this draft revision is a response to the challenges of today’s post-truth world, and supports the ethical and responsible production and sharing of information in social information environments, among many related metaliteracy tenets. All four of the original metaliteracy goals have been revised along with most of the associated learning objectives. The four domains of metaliteracy, including the affective, behavioral, cognitive, and metacognitive continue to inform the learning goals and objectives and are clearly identified in the revised document. We appreciate your feedback on this draft revision and will post any additional changes at metaliteracy.org as soon as we finalize the latest updates.

Metaliteracy Books Reviewed as part of Facet Publishing Series

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Metaliteracy in Practice

The peer-reviewed journal Research in Online Literacy Education (ROLE), published by the Global Society of Online Educators (GSOLE), posted book reviews for both Metaliteracy in Practice and Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners. ​Drew Virtue, assistant professor in the professional writing program in the Department of English at Western Carolina University wrote the reviews as part of the Facet Publishing Review Series on Digital Literacies. In his review of the edited book Metaliteracy in Practice, Virture wrote: “The most significant strength I found throughout the various chapters was the relationship between metaliteracy and metacognition. Metacognition was addressed explicitly or implied through a focus on critical reflection among all the authors.”

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As part of his review for the co-authored book Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners, Virtue concludes: “Mackey and Jacobson offer a foundational work that challenges how we understand literacy in the digital age. Furthermore, their argument for the need of metaliteracy is compelling. Metaliteracy is not only interesting but a necessary concept to understand the complexity of communication embedded within our continually evolving technologies—one that will help us, as teachers and librarians, help learners become more astute in their everyday lives.” We appreciate the thoughtful reviews by Drew Virtue and the support from Facet Publishing, the international publisher for both books in association with ALA Publishing in the United States.