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ERIC Number: EJ980006
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 37
ISSN: ISSN-0034-0553
Society Reschooling
Street, Brian V.
Reading Research Quarterly, v47 n2 p216-227 Apr-Jun 2012
This essay offers a commentary on how the relationship between language and literacy practices in and out of school has been conceptualized. It draws upon two new books in the field. Shirley Brice Heath's new book, "Words at Work and Play: Three Decades in Family and Community Life," which makes use of rich ethnographic accounts of children's educational and literacy development across three generations, following her initial study of families in "Ways With Words," argues that "everyday, informal learning that all engage in will link with and complement the more formal directions" (p. 169). In "The Great Literacy Debate," an edited book from the U.K., the authors argue that the government's National Literacy Strategy there did not succeed, a failure which they claim was to be explained in terms of problems with how literacy was defined. A key issue for the authors, in both the U.S. and the U.K., is their criticism of formal educational approaches to literacy and the recognition that school needs to take account of social factors outside of school in helping pupils acquire the reading and writing skills required by schooling. This essay draws out the notion of two "fields" in the approach to literacy as a way of characterizing the issues raised: the field in which "literacy" is defined and performed in education and the field of New Literacy Studies, with its emphasis on social practice in a wider context than schooling. In an attempt to broaden the international focus of the consideration of the possible link between these two fields--how literacy in everyday life can be linked with literacy in educational contexts--the article then extends to a consideration of a program in which ethnographic perspectives have been applied to help teachers build on adult learners' prior literacies. The project developed by Rogers and Street (2011) is labeled Learning Empowerment Through Training in Ethnographic Research (LETTER) and has been applied in a number of internationals, such as India, Ethiopia, and Uganda. The paper concludes by pointing to a direction in which a literacy strategy might build on actual practice of the kind described, taking account of the theoretical and pedagogical principles developed in the books and programs reviewed here. (Contains 1 note.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Adult Basic Education; Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom; United States