Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Reflection on Productive Pedagogies

Reflection on Productive Pedagogies

Marsh (2008) explored ways in which the introduction of aspects of children’s digital cultures into the classroom can promote ‘productive pedagogies’ in specific kinds of contexts. The author further defined the term of “specific kinds of contexts” as classroom spaces in which curriculum and pedagogy are respectful of children’s agency, attuned to their cultural capital and embedded in meaningful practices that reflect pupils’ out-of-school interests and experiences.

In the article, Lingard et al. (2001) identified that the ‘connectedness’ as a significant aspect of a productive pedagogy involves the following elements:
Ø          Knowledge integration
Ø          Background knowledge
Ø          Connectedness to the world
Ø          Problem-based curriculum
Marsh in turn examines these above 4 elements. Firstly he found out one of the main elements of the ‘connectedness’ focusing on how far work undertaken in the classroom is connected to competences and concerns beyond the classroom. When the pupils were introduced initially to the concept of a blog, they had no difficulties understanding how it worked and very soon acquired the skills and knowledge needed to post to it and send comments. Furthermore, the affordances of blogs mean that they are ideal formats for displaying aspects of one’s identity. The blogs enabled children to reference popular texts and artefacts that represented aspects of their identities and thus blurred their online and offline world.

For connectedness to the world, beyond the classroom, the lessons can be connected to competencies or concerns. In terms of knowledge integration, the affordance of the technology meant that this cross-curricular approach was an integral part of the work, given the range of online sources the children could access and the variety of software they used throughout the project. The blogging project enabled children to integrate knowledge about literacy with technology in the development of keyboard skills but also fostered digital literacy skills in which literacy and technology were integrated.

For the fourth element of the ‘connectedness’ dimension, the article focused on identifying and addressing intellectual / real world problems, was also a central element of the blogging project.

Basically, in my points of view, the productive pedagogies enable students to know and use the affordances and constraints of technology. Students are required to understand the 4 factors of ‘connectedness’. It means that student can acquire knowledge via internet but not only from teachers alone. In the productive pedagogies, out-of-classroom learning would be encouraged. In traditional classroom learning, students are given a fixed time slot to learn the subjects assigned by teachers. They are limited to ask a question to their teachers.

The digital literacies should be encouraged to enhance and foster student’s language learning but not improvement. It is because students getting familiar with technology are difficult to master. On the other hand, teachers will be still important role. They have to modify their teaching plan in integration with digital literacies. Interestingly, use of blogging to foster students in learning languages. In theoretical it is possible and practical. In reality, if students with low language ability, how they just write on blog in which they can improve their languages skills including grammar gradually. It is doubtful.

For those students with strong ability in learning, digital literacies with productive pedagogies seem to be useful. It is because they only have to overcome the technical problems on use of digital literacies.


  1. I believe productive pedagogy enables the learners to know the new technology better and at the same time the learners' language skill could be enhanced. Of course,the blog project does not suitable for students at any level. The students who have limited language skills may feel frustrated but most students could benefit from the blogging to some extent.Maybe you can try it on some relatively advanced learners one day!As for the difficulty of application the project,in addition to the technical problems that you mentioned, the pressure from the school and parents also play a part. Anyway, blogging is still a useful way to motivate the students to learn.

    1. Many thanks for your comment!

      Yes, as you said, blogging is still a useful way to motivate the students to learn.

      The key point is that motivation of learners but not the technology. Basically, 10 years ago, ICQ is very famous and poplular online chatting tool amongst young people even adults. I heard that students may benefit from ICQ using English. However, in reality, no any data or research can prove that ICQ/MSN can be used a tool to improve learners' language (both in Chinese and English). On the contrary, a language will change in context. Very special language like "cu", "ic", "ttyl", "4 u" always appeared in chatting.

      Now, a term of "WEB 2.0" has been lanuched to generalise the online technology. Then the tools/software may be phrased out but the conceptual idea may not.

      Lastly, blogging or some technology may encourage learners to learn but no one can make sure it can improve the language skills at least in my point of view.