For my first response, I am going to focus mainly on the first two questions:
- What are your main insights and ideas from the given L&K chapter?
- What unique terminology, jargon, buzzwords, and other concepts appear in this reading that required your careful attention and definition? What are your interpretations of these words and concepts?
The first thing that came to my mind while reading chapter one of New Literacies by Lankshear and Knobel was how much has gone on in the last 30-40 years in terms of policy changes, definitions of literacy and general viewpoints. While reading, I couldn’t stop thinking about my very first course at CU Denver on my road to becoming a teacher. I had to read chapter upon chapter of texts telling me about the achievement gap and how low income most always correlated with low achievement. I had such a hard time believing that as I continued through the course. I kept thinking to myself, ‘yeah but if someone really wants it, they can go to college and be successful’. It wasn’t until I stepped foot in my first internship at my current school that I fully began to understand what all the achievement gap stuff truly meant.
As I continued to read, I kept thinking about the term ‘illiterate’ and how its meaning has changed over the years in some sense. In the 60s and 70s, if you were ‘illiterate’ it meant that you couldn’t read or write and that typically you were of the lower economic status. Lankshear and Knobel state, “'Illiteracy’ and ‘illiterate’ usually carried social class or social group connotation. Being illiterate tended to be associated with being poor, being of marginal status, and so on” (p. 12). After my second year of teaching in a low-income school, I 100% see the achievement gap and how it affects my students. I have many students who, in third grade, can’t read or write but I have never or will ever call them illiterate. They have many skills that will help them on their road to becoming literate. But there still is a correlation, in my eyes, between being illiterate and economic status. I had one parent tell me she can’t really help her child because “I can’t read good or do math good myself because I only made it to 10th grade.” I will never forget that conversation because it made me so sad and this parent wants to help her child so badly, but she doesn’t know how.
However, I feel the term illiterate has taken on a more laid back, casual meaning in terms of ‘new literacies’. For example, I hear my dad say all the time that he is technology illiterate or cell phone illiterate. I don’t feel the term has such a negative connotation anymore in regards to new technologies, or maybe the term is just a generational thing...
|Two of my students working on a research project|
Finally, as I was reading about the standardized tests internationally, I was getting frustrated that we are trying to compare ourselves with other counties. There are so many factors that play into international comparisons that I feel it is like comparing apples and oranges. Some countries only test their top 70% of students; some countries have longer school years or longer school days, some countries value education more than others. I think it is OK to compare our students within our own country, but it is a sticky situation when you start throwing in different countries!
I look forward to your thoughts!