It's more important than ever to read the world through a critical lens and literacy is the base communication system for everything we do. If we understand literacy as a system for meaning-making and see it as a diverse and creative repertoire of opportunities, we'll have a better chance of fighting perennial or endemic educational inequity. In an increasingly uneven educational space, the significance of developing and understanding literacies to address issues of educational equity and success is paramount to ensuring meaningful change in the classroom.


Arts, Design & Architecture


School of Education

Delivery Mode





5 weeks



What will I learn?

Literacy is more than reading and writing, it refers to how we make meaning through a range of semiotic systems and this course is underpinned by the core message that literacy and numeracy are everyone's business.

In this course, teachers will explore the political, educational, social, and cultural significance of literacy to dive deeper into what literacy is and what it can be. Each module will introduce a different theoretical lens to literacy, all of which are strongly connected to socio-cultural understandings of language. Teachers will be encouraged to think about how literacy connects with different demographic groups and its integration with issues of social justice, equity, dis/engagement, representation, identity, and achievement.

By offering a conceptual overview of theories, discourses and debates around literacy/ies, teachers will learn how the meaning of literacy can be re-imagined to connect with different educational contexts and cohorts and what the theory looks like in practice in the classroom.

This course will provide teachers with the tools to disrupt very narrow conceptions of what literacy is and to think more about what possible literacies there are that can be used to create exciting educational moments in their teaching. 

How will I learn?

This course will be delivered online.

Dr Sally Baker will shepherd students through the course materials using their own contextual experience. In this course, one size doesn't fit all. Students will be strongly encouraged to consider their own understanding of what literacy is in order to create and give new meaning to the area as the course progresses.

Who should take this course?

This course is ideal for all teachers, irrespective of their disciplinary background.

Who is leading this course?

Dr Sally Baker

Sally is a Senior Lecturer of Language and Literacies in the School of Education. She is the Education focal point in the Forced Migration Research Network (FMRN@UNSW) and is the Chair of the Refugee Education Special Interest Group (

Sally's research explores issues of equity in higher education, with her research and advocacy interests including refugee education higher education equity and language policy, the educational experiences of students from culturally and linguistically diverse migrant and refugee (CALDMR) backgrounds, academic language and literacies (ALL), transitions, methodological + ethical issues with research in 'fragile contexts', and qualitative longitudinal research.


Teachers who complete this course can then undertake further assessment in a microcredential unit for Recognition of Prior Learning for postgraduate study.

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