ERIC Number: ED338451
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
Reference Count: N/A
Literacy, Language Planning, and Pedagogy.
Kaplan, Robert B.
Various groups of Native American peoples and other non-English speakers are required to become literate in English and are promised that literacy will solve their social, economic, and political problems. Yet, having achieved some level of English literacy, many of these people find that not much has changed. The educational system attributes their lack of success to something "wrong" with the learners. The problem, however, is more complex, having roots in the way educational planners go about their business, in the history of written language, and in a general failure to perceive that various forms of written language serve different purposes. The absence of literacy is a natural human condition, and literacy is a complex and rich technology that is useful only under certain conditions. Government-supported language planning is fraught with dangers. Governments often have accepted the notion that monolingual literacy is desirable, ignoring the fact that orality and literacy serve different societal functions and that a lack of fit may exist between the dominant language and a minority (oral) language with regard to minority community needs. Other policy problems lie in the inability of the education sector to permeate an entire culture, the lack of written materials in certain languages, and the fact that process-based literacy training provides functional skills but not access to the language used in societal power structures. Policy suggestions for bilingual education in Alaska and the preservation of Native American languages are included. This paper contains 32 references. (SV)
Descriptors: American Indian Education, American Indian Languages, Bilingual Education, Educational Policy, Language Planning, Language Role, Limited English Speaking, Literacy, Literacy Education, Public Policy
Department of Education, State of Alaska, Goldbelt Place, 810 West 10th Street, Juneau, AK 99811-0500.
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Alaska; Native Americans; Orality
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Bilingual Multicultural Education and Equity Conference (17th, Anchorage, AK, February 6-8, 1991). Figures and notes contain filled in computer type.