Identity, Agency, and Adult Literacy in an Unequal Digital World
The world has changed since I published my early work on identity, investment, and language learning in the mid 1990s. Because of advancements in digital technology, there are new relations of power at micro and macro levels, and digital literacy has become essential in “claiming the right to speak.” As adult language learners navigate these changing times, they need to negotiate new identities, investments, and imagined futures (Norton, 2013). Working with Ron Darvin, I have responded to new linguistic landscapes by developing an expanded model of investment that integrates identity, ideology, and linguistic capital in a comprehensive framework (Darvin & Norton, 2015). In this presentation, I will argue that while there are structures that may limit an adult language learner’s investment, the model seeks to illustrate how adult learners can draw on language and literacy practices that enhance possibility. Drawing on my recent research on digital storybooks in both wealthy and poorly resourced global communities, I will discuss the ways in which digital storybooks can harness the linguistic capital of both children and adult learners in homes, schools, and communities in the interests of a more equitable multilingual future (Stranger-Johannessen & Norton, 2017). See: Storybooks Canada http://www.storybookscanada.ca/ and Global Storybooks: http://globalstorybooks.net/.
Darvin, R. & Norton, B. (2015). Identity and a model of investment in applied linguistics. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 35, 35-56
Norton, B. (2013). Identity and language learning: Extending the conversation. 2nd Edition. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
Stranger-Johannessen, E. & Norton, B. (2017). The African Storybook and language teacher identity in digital times. Modern Language Journal, 101(S1), 45–60.
Dr. Bonny Norton, FRSC, is a Professor and Distinguished University Scholar in the Department of Language and Literacy Education, UBC, Canda. Her primary research interests are identity and language learning, digital literacy, and international development. Recent publications include a 2017 special issue on language teacher identity (MLJ) and a 2013 second edition of Identity and Language Learning (Multilingual Matters). A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the American Educational Research Association, she was a 2016 co-recipient of the TESOL Distinguished Research Award and in 2018 received the CSSE Graduate Student Mentorship Award. Her current project is Storybooks Canada and her website is: http://faculty.educ.ubc.ca/norton/