For over 25 years the UIC Center for Literacy (CFL) has helped Chicago families to achieve their educational goals by offering multigenerational family literacy support services, building pipelines to future education and employment, and contributing significantly to public policy and scholarship in literacy education. We take a strengths-based approach to address systemic inequalities by using culturally sustaining literacy education as a means to empower families to connect with each other and community resources to achieve their educational goals.
Educational Equity is social justice in education, in which no one is denied the possibility to reach their educational goals.
Community-Based Social Capital is defined as the trusting relationships and social structures that facilitate relationship-building within a community and the relationships that connect people to the resources, information, and supports they need to achieve their goals and the well-being of themselves and their communities.
Multigenerational Literacy involves a continuum of learning across the lifespan, and especially within families, to enable individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society.
- We will leverage new modes of learning and connected technologies to support multigenerational learning, community-based social capital, and access to resources and opportunities.
- We will cultivate community partnerships that help to build 21st-century educational opportunity pathways for families and youth.
- We will convene scholars at local and national levels to research and discover literacies of the connected world and build research-based resources to support equity in multigenerational learning.
Our Pedagogical Practices
We work with individuals, families, and communities to advocate for the goals and issues that are important to their lives and well-being, drawing on community resources to build power at every level. This community-oriented approach – working in a relationship with, rather than in relationship to, our participants and their communities – serves as a compass that guides us in a continual process of evaluating our work in order to keep it authentic and relevant to the rich diversity of Chicago’s residents. As such, below are the pedagogical practices we use in our work:
- Adapting and designing dynamic & intentional learning environments
- Co-creating reciprocal learning relationships
- Mobilizing shared literacy experiences to build transformative communities
- Engaging continuously in reflective practice
- Acknowledging & honoring participants’ knowledge and experiences
- Embracing & supporting the family as the foundation of learning
- Being a resource to equip individuals to accomplish personal goals & identify as life-long