ERIC Number: ED352633
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
Literacy and Diversity: Do We Need Dichotomies or Not?
Elster, Charles A.; Moje, Elizabeth B.
Theorists, researchers, and practitioners need to develop a better awareness of the oppressive nature of dichotomies in literacy research and practice and work to use dichotomies profitably by moving beyond them. Dichotomies can be convenient generalizations which make communication possible, but they run the risk of creating warring camps of opponents who berate each other in different languages. Dichotomous depictions of literacy, language, and culture are popular and well institutionalized; however, the use of such dichotomies fosters a limited view of "reality," leads to repression of individual and community expression and needs, promotes cultural bias, creates exclusive discourse that stifles dialogue, and prohibits critical analysis. Three possibilities for transforming dichotomies exist: mitigate the opposition created by dichotomies using a continuum model; emphasize pluralism in the place of dichotomies; and reformulate the problem. One method of promoting dialogue from multiple perspectives involves using ethnography as a teaching and learning tool. Another method of working profitably with dichotomies is that of using dialectical processes of "methodological doubt" and "methodological belief." Literacy educators need to construct new visions of literacy teaching and learning, ones that value multiple perspectives and approaches. (Forty-two references are attached.) (RS)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A