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ERIC Number: ED377448
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Mar
Pages: 13
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Texts without Contexts: Ideological Distortion in Developmental Environments for Literacy.
Evans, Karin
A writing instructor recalls that her own early literacy experiences were inextricably tied to particular times and places, and to the ideologies mediated by familiar institutions--schools, libraries, home. Students' literacy development is thus shaped by what some psychologists refer to as "developmental environments." In recent years, a number of developmental psychologists have argued that the nature and course of cognitive development are profoundly affected by their cultural and social settings. According to Urie Bronfenbrenner, cognitive development does not just happen automatically, but is a result of how an individual comes to terms with an environment. This environmental perspective has arisen partly as a critique of theories based on developmental stages, particularly Piagetan theory. While stage theorists tend to assume a universal (and therefore normative) developmental path and endpoint, theorists like Bronfenbrenner are not interested in prescribing what development is "supposed" to look like. Despite the many developments in composition theory in recent years, most college composition classes have largely failed to reconceive of texts as integral to contexts. The new focus on "process" may be seen as just another set of basic developmental formulas. Instead of asking students to locate themselves within situations where texts have public or social functions, these courses fall back on typical essay assignments with vaguely identified hypothetical audiences. Giving students an understanding of the social nature of literacy should be the most basic task in teaching literacy. (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A