Lessons in Literacy

Pamoja Ghana, or Ghana REFLECT Practitioners Network, focuses on literacy and works with the most disadvantaged populations who are often in rural areas.  Over this weekend, I have been reading about the practice of REFLECT and must say that I find it eye opening to consider the concepts presented in the REFLECT material and some of the assumptions, beliefs and cultural norms that I associate with literacy. 

What does literacy mean to you?  Consider your definition.  When you think of literacy, do you think of reading and writing skills, perhaps even numeracy skills, or the broader concept of effective communication skills for everyday matters?  Is reading and writing more valued than other forms of literacy in your culture?

How do power relationships play a role in literacy?  Where power positions exist (and they do) how are all voices heard effectively and equally, particularly the voices of the disadvantaged, or those for whom the written word in documents/signs/etc. is in a language that is not their mother tongue?

Think about the concept of power as it relates to literacy.  What do you associate with power that is also associated with literacy?  Consider two different tool sets : pencil and paper or pen and portfolio….which one would you associate with a more powerful position?  The follow-up question of course is, why do we make that association?

How is literacy different than schooling?  How do adult learners who are exploring literacy feel about being being associated with “going back to school” as compared to ‘learning new skills’ and how do we empower adult learners to avoid the stigmas of illiteracy and give themselves their own power as they explore literacy?

My reading so far….and there is more to read….is enlightening for me and allows me to begin to question some of the assumptions, beliefs, and norms of the culture from which I come. 

I find it all very interesting.


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