Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Literates As Social Practice (Article Summary)

Jones, Diaz, C. & Makin, L. (2002) ‘Literates as social practice’ in L. Makin & C. Jones Diaz (eds), Literates in early childhood: changing views, changing practice, Maclennon & Petty Pty Limited, Eastgardens, pp.7-13.
Literacy is defined as including talking, listening, visual literacies and critical thinking. Traditional perspectives situate literacy in the individual rather than in social worlds in which the individuals actively participate.

The focus was previously on skills on decoding meanings in paper-based texts, devoid of the social influences within which texts are constructed, as it will limit understandings about literacy and about the diverse ways in which children learn.
The 3 so called misleading misconceptions of literacy is:

* That it is a unitary object, but the fact is that literacy is not the same for everyone. It is more of how “technology is used to pursue social goals’ which is intrinsic to literacy.
* That it is neutral, and functions independently of specific social contexts, but the fact is that literacy has been made use to achieve social objectives and used to market to different contexts.
* Finally, the misconception that is responsible for high order thinking & cognitive processes, detached from other social processes, as an independent variable, but the fact is that it has to take into account the connectedness of other literacy factors, i.e. ethnicity, race, age, class, occupation, gender or geographic location.

I agree with the authors whereby literacy does not just mean knowing how to read and write, and decode words, but using it in context of the student’s environment, and context. I feel that many Malaysian as well focus too much on learning how to read and write, and neglect the importance of developing social skills where their literacy skills could be employed to communicate their needs & wants.

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