ERIC Number: ED225129
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Apr-16
Using Literacy Outside of School: An Ethnographic Investigation. Final Report.
Smith, David M.; And Others
A 2-year study examined the leisure reading of 60 and other language arts instruction in elementary school classrooms in west Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, led to the conclusion that many school practices were based upon assumptions of the out-of-school lives of students that were of questionable accuracy. Consequently, the researchers were asked to describe in as much detail as possible the regular routines of the families with which they were working. The researchers did not establish a research schedule but negotiated a series of contacts based on the mutual obligations of friendship. The result was a set of portraits that constituted a case study in some aspect of the culture of literacy. Although most of the reports describe inner city Black families, two reports look at literacy use among relatively recently arrived Southeast Asians. All of the families are poor, and some are on welfare. All of the families are concerned that their children succeed in school, but not at any cost. Two themes that characterize these portraits are (1) the care with which the families organize themselves to make full use of the resources they have to meet the demands of school and the workplace while living lives of dignity and happiness, and (2) the fear that they may not be doing everything they should or could be. The typical posture of a family is, "we will do everything we can to meet the school's demands: however, we will not sacrifice those things that give meaning and dignity to us. School success isn't the only thing important for our children to experience." (HOD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Pennsylvania Univ., Philadelphia.