ERIC Number: ED241697
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Jan
Reference Count: 0
Hirsch, E. D., Jr.
Adult literacy is more than a condition of acquiring a set number of linguistic skills. Persons may know phonics and be able to decode simple readings perfectly; they may even know the meaning of many vocabulary words, but they still may be culturally illiterate. Cultural literacy demands more than mere linguistic skills; it demands participation in and knowledge about a shared body of knowledge, a knowledge of the culture of the country. Knowledge of this body of ideas and history is assumed by writers of everything from training manuals to newspapers, yet many adults do not possess this knowledge. At present, teaching this information is not easy, because there is no national consensus on what the shared body of knowledge, the shared cultural background, should contain. Therefore, raising the level of adult literacy requires more than money and teaching skills. It requires decisive leadership that will define what every adult should know so the information can be taught. When the cultural content is determined, when we have decided what a citizen has to know to be literate in the 1980s, then adult literacy, "cultural literacy," can be achieved. (KC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Cultural Literacy; National Adult Literacy Project
Note: Paper presented at the National Adult Literacy Conference (Washington, DC, January 19-20, 1984). For other conference papers, see ED 240 287-390 and CE 038 371.