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Barirah Nazir Department of English University of Sargodha
• The most common definition of Literacy ‗The ability to read and write‘ • Literacy is a fairly recent English word which first appeared in dictionaries in 1924. • With literacy the four words are to consider: Literate, Illiterate, Literacy and Illiteracy • In Samuel Johnson‘s first dictionary of English (1755) only one term i.e. Illiterate is to be found • Even the word Illiterate was quite uncommon word (Barclay‘s dictionary of 1820) … dates from 1556 • Illiteracy dates from 1660 more than 200 years ago before Literacy appears in 1883
• Literacy is sometimes contrasted with Orality. • Non-literate can be used as a less pejorative sounding alternative to illiterate • Illiterate – Not being able to read within a culture which is literate • Non-literate – covers people in a culture which has never had literacy • Even talk of a literate culture is an extension of the word beyond the idea of literacy being a property of people . or with other neologism. Oracy.
• Like a germ that learns to enjoy penicillin. ruling class . No matter what we do about it … the condition persists (July 04. 1988. illiteracy consumes all the armies sent to fight it. Financial Times of Canada) • Literacy with clergy.
• Transition from an oral culture to written culture that is to use of technologies of written words for communication • Orality – world of sound to Literacy (world of thought) .
• A very useful definition given by UNESCO .
compute and use printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals. interpret. communicate. to develop their knowledge and potential and to participate fully in their community and wider society‖ . understand. create.• ―Ability to identify.
• Multiple literacies.. visual. media.• Literacy Studies . information. health. and so on • For example: Information Literacy – ability to access and use a variety of information sources to solve an information need. . scientific. ways of ‗reading the world‘ in specific contexts: technological.that is. The attachment of the concept of literacy with varying theoretical fields.
• 15th century invention of the movable type printing press • It was not until the Industrial Revolution of the mid-19th century that paper and books became financially affordable to all classes of industrialized society. the dearth of cheap paper and books is a barrier to universal literacy in some less-industrialized nations. . • Even today.
Traditional Concept of Utility of Literacy Literacy Reading and Writing Simple Arithmetic Comprehension .
Divergent Views Literacy Functional Literacy New Literacy Studies Literacy as Learning Critical Literacy .
• In the 1960s and 1970s – Cognitive approach • Literacy could be taught as a universal set of skills (applicable everywhere) and that there was only one literacy. Literacy was seen as neutral and independent of social context • The most common understanding of literacy is that it is a set of tangible skills – particularly the cognitive skills of reading and writing – that are independent of the context in which they are acquired and the background of the person who acquires them • AUTONOMOUS LITERACY . which everyone should learn in the same way.
that even a presumably ‗objective‘ skill such as numeracy can be socially situated • IDEOLOGICAL MODEL .• The ways in which literacy is practised vary by social and cultural context • Rather than seeing literacy as a technical skill independent of context. embedded in social settings and. the NLS approach argues it is a social practice. further.
an adult reads a story to a child at night • People are engaged in wide range of literacy events. • For example. A man who discusses contents of newspaper with friend. organize his shopping and taking a telephone message for his daughter who does not have a phone – the three different literacy events .• Literacy events are all sorts of occasions in everyday life where the written word has a role.
• ‗An occasion when a person attempts to comprehend or produce graphic signs‘. 1983) . either alone or with others (Anderson et al. 1980) • ‗When talk revolves around a piece of writing‘ (Heath. 1983) ‗ Where literacy has an integral role‘ (Heath.
Literacy practices are the general cultural ways of utilizing literacy which people draw upon a literacy event. along with the associated ways of talking and the ways of writing. • For instance. . the two participants make use of their literary practices. they may be regular repeated activities. where and when it is done. in the example mentioned above In deciding who does what.• The common patterns in using reading and writing in particular situation. People bring their cultural knowledge to an activity. • Literacy events are particular activities where literacy has a role.
as many who are labelled illiterate are found to make significant use of literacy practices for specific purposes in their everyday .• The recognition of multiple literacies varying according to time and space (local and global) • Power relations and literacy (Dominant literacies and Marginalized literacies) • Questions the validity of designations of individuals as ‗literate‘ or ‗illiterate‘.
is more than being able to read and write. it‘s the ability to apply those skills to for specific purposes in specific situations. they claim. • Literacy. Results demonstrated that each literacy practice sparked the development and enhancement of specific types of cognitive skills. Quoran studies. writing system of their own) –affected various cognitive skills. and traditional Vai script (Liberia.Sylvia Scribner and Michael Cole (1981) • Scribner and Cole defined literacy as ―a set of socially organized practices which make use of a symbol system and a technology for producing and disseminating it‖. . Important to note is that Scribner and Cole claim the particular kinds of literacy practices enacted by a culture determine the specific kinds of skills associated with literacy • They analyzed how three literacies—English schooling.
while students from rural or blue collar communities fail and drop out at alarming rates.• Ways with Words … Culture influences language and literacy learning • Schools cater to the success of ‗townspeople‘. educated backgrounds. . students from middle class.
colonial administrations.g. missionaries. international communication and economic globalization) have impinged upon the ‗local‘ experiences of specific communities .Criticism • It overemphasizes local exigencies and insufficiently recognizes how external forces (e.
Literacy as Learning • views literacy as an active and broad-based learning process. rather than as a product of a more limited and focused educational intervention. • Learning (Experience) to Literacy • Paulo Freire is perhaps the most famous adult literacy educator whose work integrated notions of active learning within socio-cultural settings .
• Freire emphasized the importance of bringing the learner‘s socio-cultural realities into the learning process itself and then using the learning process to challenge these social processes .
Critical Literacy • Inspired by the theories of Michel Foucault • Literacy as subject matter and the nature of texts that are being produced and consumed by literate people • Critical perspective towards text/discourse – A text constructs the reader • Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1968) Paulo Friere .
• Literacy assumes a particular language at the cost of Vernacular language • Social restrictions on people‘s reading and writing leads to Restricted Literacy .
• Emergent Literacy… term first used by Marie Clay to describe how young children interact with books • Adult Literacy .
Girls are quicker to learn reading/spellings. Why? Male offspring is more important Female child at home Less jobs Stereotypes – Children are read to more by female grown ups than males. Fiction choice is gender oriented .Literacy and Gender • o o o • 2/3 of mothers are illiterate.
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