Recognizing the socio-cultural elements of language decoding and production, many modern EAL programs utilize a content-based approach. In the case of school-based EAL programs, this content often includes investigations such as understanding local values, citizenship theory, sustainability, media awareness, and digital literacy. This choice of content is partially due to a recognition that the socio-cultural components of language are crucial for accurate comprehension and production. It is also because these programs are designed to help integrate students from diverse backgrounds and give them the tools to participate fully in society using the English language (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2014). However, Jenkins (2006) argues that schools have been slow to adapt to the increasing need for critical digital literacy skills and that these skills are necessary to function effectively in participatory culture. Digital literacy skills, envisioned in this way, go beyond career-based training (although employability remains an objective) and into the realm of effective citizenship education. Jenkins (2006) argues from this basis that it is important for all young people to know how to use, interpret, and produce digital and traditional media, to understand how their perceptions are shaped by it, and become socialized into the ethical norms of participation in digital media cultures as part of their basic education. This paper will orient readers to the theme, provide a summary analysis of digital literacy coverage in EAP syllabi from two nations, and give recommendations for policy, curriculum developers, and classroom teachers.
Russell Hazard, Aidi International School/Mount Kenya University, China
Stream: English for Academic Purposes
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