ERIC Number: ED337797
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Lessons from the Workplace: Writing and Oral Communication in Three African American Families.
A study examined the ways in which members of low-income Southern African-American families deal with writing in their everyday lives. Three families headed by single parents participated in the study. The researcher resided with each family for 2 months, following the adults to their workplaces, sharing chores and leisure activities, and accompanying the children to school. She took field notes, conducted interviews, and collected writing samples. Results indicated that all of the writing done by the adults was either to aid memory (shopping lists, telephone numbers) or as requirements for business endeavors (contracts, invoices, receipts). Results implied that little writing was done due to: (1) the fact that free time was spent escaping stress; (2) negative attitudes about writing; and (3) the lack of satisfaction that they received from writing. The adults preferred oral communication to transfer information and family folklore. Results also indicated that the children never expressed negative attitudes about writing and often made time to write, squeezing it in between playing outdoors and watching television. In addition, they derived great satisfaction from writing, giving gifts of their writing to express love or appreciation. Results suggest that teachers can encourage writing (especially for African-American students) by asking their students to write their family histories, and by providing time for class discussion of things that they have learned outside of school. In addition, parents need to know that they can help children develop their skills by holding frequent family discussions. (Seventeen references are attached.) (PRA)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: African Americans; Writing Contexts
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (42nd, Boston, MA, March 21-23, 1991).