ERIC Number: ED462241
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002
Reference Count: N/A
The Importance of Women's Literacy in Language Stabilization Projects.
Gomez de Garcia, Jule; Olson, Maureen; Axelrod, Melissa
Experiences with indigenous people in Mexico and New Mexico illustrate that there are cultural and situational constraints on women's literacy. A participatory demonstration in linguistics in which the demonstrator is largely silent highlights the group dynamics of learning communities that develop in successful literacy and stabilization projects. The leadership shifts, often without the conscious consent of the group, and new leaders emerge as the task changes because one person cannot be the master of all skills. These shifts in leadership can create problems when the organizational bureaucracy appoints a leader who does not recognize the leadership potential of each member in the project. This is especially problematic when the appointed leader is a man and the emergent leader is a woman. Cultural norms often do not allow or encourage such an arrangement. For most tribes working toward stabilizing their languages, involvement of the community, consensus from the community on ways of proceeding, negotiation among community members when a problem arises, and support of the individual learner by the community of learners are crucially important. A community that can resolve these issues will have taken great strides toward becoming a literate community before the first word is ever written or read. In many day-care, preschool, and immersion programs, the majority of the teachers are women. Therefore, involving women in this kind of planning is crucial. An Apache women's literacy camp is described in which women report feeling more relaxed without the presence of men. (TD)
Descriptors: American Indian Education, Community Cooperation, Cultural Influences, Females, Gender Issues, Group Dynamics, Informal Leadership, Language Maintenance, Literacy, Literacy Education, Native Language Instruction, Sex Role
For full text: http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~jar/ILAC/.
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A