ERIC Number: ED377997
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Making a Case for a Cross-Cultural Approach to Literacy in Appalachia.
Thaller, Eva A.
An insider/outsider approach to Appalachian culture examines cultural differences of Appalachian people that necessitate cross-cultural educational studies usually reserved for ethnic and racial minority groups. An overview focuses on current economic conditions affecting the region's culture and some stereotypes of Appalachians that remain current. A major myth is that the land is poor, entrapping its inhabitants in poverty. Actually the land is quite rich in natural resources. However misuse of the land has created poverty for many and fortunes for a few, while the inhabitants' ignorance of their own history permits the continuance of this state of affairs. Blaming the victim has been the standard approach that educators have taken to this problem: defining cultural differences as innate handicaps to learning. Harry Caudill described such differences in "A Darkness at Dawn": attachment to the land, attachment to a small community of families, childish trust in other people, ignorance of the nature of the land (leading to its misuse), mistrust of government, and disregard of education. The assertion is also made that Appalachian culture is right-brained, i.e., intuitive, sensual, spiritual, creative, and emotional; and is expressed through metaphor, simile, and poetry. These attributes are not valued in many schools, and lack of understanding contributes to the dropout rate. Higher priority must be given to the arts, instruction incorporating regional dialects, and exposure to the diversities of other cultures. Contains 37 references. (JAT)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Cultural Background, Cultural Differences, Culture Conflict, Dialects, Educational Discrimination, Educational Environment, Educationally Disadvantaged, Elementary Secondary Education, Family School Relationship, Literacy Education, Low Achievement, Multicultural Education, Teacher Attitudes
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A