Global issues of literacy and justice


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Robyn's lecture slides, Macquarie University, on global issues of literacy and justice

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  • Theoretical examination of the research on identity formation has shown that power structures exist in society which are perpetuated/ emulated in everyday conversations. These power structures influence and control the ways in which people are able to negotiate new identities (Norton, 2000; Lave & Wenger, 1991). As Norton (2000) has outlined, the power in most interactions lies with the more proficient speakers of the language who have a more highly developed understanding of the social rules, and as such can manipulate the conversation to their advantage. Lave and Wenger (1991) indicate that movement towards full participation as a member of a group involves increasing effort and commitment and identifying oneself as a master practitioner. The onus in this theory is upon the individual as the instigator of change and progress to becoming a group member and also upon the self-concept of their identity as a full member of the community.
  • Global issues of literacy and justice

    1. 1. Global issues of literacy: power and social justice Dr Robyn Moloney Monday 27 April Thursday 30 April
    2. 2. <ul><li>Today : broad global issues of what language and literacy represent </li></ul><ul><li>Language as a problem, a right and a resource </li></ul><ul><li>Bilingual education, </li></ul><ul><li>Thursday: focus on Australian context, our classrooms, biliteracy </li></ul>
    3. 3. Reading assignment 1 <ul><li>Thankyou for 51 stories of family, heritage and identity, which involved : </li></ul><ul><li>Recognition of privilege </li></ul><ul><li>other languages, </li></ul><ul><li>social inequities, </li></ul><ul><li>struggles to achieve literacy, </li></ul><ul><li>Issues re biliteracy. </li></ul>
    4. 4. Due to… <ul><li>Socioeconomic factors </li></ul><ul><li>Dislocation, interrupted schooling </li></ul><ul><li>value attached to different languages- family languages lost, cultural conflict </li></ul><ul><li>the micro and the macro </li></ul><ul><li>the Personal and the Political </li></ul><ul><li>Considerations of role of language(s) and literacies as big picture global issue. </li></ul>
    5. 5. Some examples- what do they represent? <ul><li>1.As a consequence of learning English in Singapore schools Santhi forgot how to speak Tamil. Her grandma came to visit and she could not communicate with her . </li></ul><ul><li>“ In Singapore schools, teachers had the view that we could not speak English well and were “trouble” if we were in their class”. </li></ul>
    6. 6. <ul><li>2. Natalie is from the Philipinnes, and Tagalog was the family language. “I cannot speak Tagalog, because I was never taught it, I have never read or written in Tagalog. It is a great loss to our family that in one generation our native language of Tagalog has been lost”. </li></ul>
    7. 7. <ul><li>3. Belma grew up in Bosnia, read grown up books when little, learnt Latin and Cyrillic alphabets simultaneously. In the war she climbed up to her grandmother’s attic and read books, in order not to hear the shells whistling across the sky, and to not hear her baby brother crying hysterically. </li></ul><ul><li>Missed 4 years of primary schooling but excelled through great ESL teaching in Sydney and went on to literary heights. </li></ul>
    8. 8. <ul><li>4.Kelly’s house did not contain a single children’s book, newspaper or magazine. She got her first book for her 8th birthday. Stopped from completing high school education. For 10 years avoided any kind of literacy. When she started to read to her own children, drive for reading re-surfaced. For the last 9 years she has worked on improving her literacy skills completing many courses to find an avenue into university. In 2006 offered a position through the Warawara Dept of Indigenous studies... “I cried for 3 days and carried the offer letter around in my bag to check I hadn’t read it incorrectly”. </li></ul>
    9. 9. <ul><li>5. Angel was born in Korea. She had language difficulties in Australia but noted the importance of Year 6, when 3 important things happened: (1)she got a pen pal in another primary school to write to, (2) she bought books from Book Club, and (3) joined the debating team. Worked collaboratively to discuss, argue, and research on a topic, reflect on others’ perceptions and write speeches. </li></ul>
    10. 10. <ul><li>6. Linda: “why pay $150 an hour for therapy when you can participate in one of William deJean’s Writer Workshops?” </li></ul>
    11. 11. With your partner- what connections can you make in these stories with lectures, readings, WICR? <ul><li>1.Santhi and Tamil </li></ul><ul><li>2.Natalie and Tagalog </li></ul><ul><li>3. Belma in Bosnia </li></ul><ul><li>4. Kelly </li></ul><ul><li>5. Angel and Year 6 </li></ul>
    12. 12. The politics and economics of language
    13. 14. Why do they matter? <ul><li>In the broader picture, the UN positions support and preservation of languages as essential for development. They are strategic in regard to the essential challenges facing mankind. </li></ul>
    14. 15. <ul><li>Linguistic factors play a big role in the eradication of poverty and hunger . The ability to obtain a livelihood, to participate in social and public life is dependent, to a great extent, on language skills. </li></ul><ul><li>Language policies and practices affect whether people are in a situation of marginalization vs integration, exclusion vs empowerment, poverty vs development. </li></ul>
    15. 16. <ul><li>As a principal medium of knowledge transmission, languages are essential to achieving universal primary education in developing countries. </li></ul><ul><li>responding to HIV, AIDS, malaria and other diseases -to be effective and adapted to the culture and needs of learners’ education (including health education), programs must be delivered in languages understood by those learners. </li></ul>
    16. 17. <ul><li>Language conveys local and indigenous knowledge and knowhow of the local environment. Good management of natural resources is linked to the protection and promotion of languages. Languages are strategic for environmental sustainability . </li></ul>
    17. 18. <ul><li>The actual enjoyment of fundamental rights is conditioned to a large extent by linguistic factors. Language policies provide an essential medium for exercising those rights. </li></ul>
    18. 19. Universal Declaration of Human Rights <ul><li>UN's website: translations of UDHR in 337 languages . (goal is to get translated into all 6,912 living languages)- the &quot;most translated document in the world&quot; ? </li></ul><ul><li>you can hear it read in 60 plus languages on the World Voices site. </li></ul>
    19. 20. A refugee story (Blommaert, 2008) <ul><li>Joseph, a Rwandan boy </li></ul>
    20. 21. Rwanda: instability, movement of people, labour migration across borders, rebels. National language Kinyarwanda
    21. 22. Joseph, a Rwandan boy <ul><li>Attended Kenyan (English lang) kindergarten, spoke English in family </li></ul><ul><li>Return age 6, mother killed, house raided; </li></ul><ul><li>massacre, escapes with uncle, </li></ul><ul><li>learned Ruyankole language , used as messenger by rebels. </li></ul><ul><li>Aged 9 arrested, imprisoned, tortured. </li></ul><ul><li>picks up French and Swahili in prison. </li></ul><ul><li>Escapes- Uganda- London as refugee. </li></ul><ul><li>He can describe his language repertoire accurately. </li></ul><ul><li>Immigration application as a Rwandan rejected, he “ can’t be” Rwandan, as he speaks the “ wrong ” languages </li></ul>
    22. 23. With your partner <ul><li>What did Joseph’s language repertoire represent? </li></ul><ul><li>What idea of language did the “refugee” authorities have? What was the reality? </li></ul><ul><li>The message of the story? </li></ul><ul><li>Other examples you know of? </li></ul>
    23. 24. Blommaert ctd <ul><li>The national order generally sees language as fixed, stable, no exceptions, as an index of origin (not history) </li></ul><ul><li>Joseph didn’t fit the national sociolinguistic order </li></ul><ul><li>Josephs’ language repertoire- polyglot, diverse, specific, mirrors his history, space, politics </li></ul><ul><li>While the real world is hybrid and polyglot, national order is still monoglot, anti-hybrid, immobile, drawing lines more tightly </li></ul><ul><li>In regard to bilingualism, the nation state has not disappeared, is stronger and more powerful than ever. </li></ul>
    24. 25. power <ul><li>Power exerted globally, in literacy classrooms, in spoken interaction </li></ul><ul><li>an individual’s social identity is negotiated through language, and the individual is either ‘empowered’ or ‘disempowered’ through access to language or language use </li></ul>
    25. 26. Power in relation to bilingualism, biliteracy, ESL students <ul><li>Cummins (2000) </li></ul><ul><li>The relations of power are at the heart of bilingual schooling. This is no more so than for minority language children who often suffer devaluation of identity, subordination and disempowerment in their schooling experience </li></ul>
    26. 27. Cummins (2000) calls for <ul><li>Classroom interactions that enable students to relate curriculum content to their individual experience … </li></ul><ul><li>In seeing how their past experiences of different languages and cultures can be powerful and useful…develop more positive attitudes towards learning and towards the cultures that influence them. </li></ul>
    27. 28. In interaction: <ul><li>Power in interactions lies with the more proficient speaker of the language- have a more developed understanding of the social rules, can manipulate the conversation to their advantage </li></ul><ul><li>It requires a conscious effort by educators to ensure that structures of inequality are not replicated in classrooms. Equality can be encouraged through the ways that the languages and cultures are treated.(Cummins) </li></ul>
    28. 29. Bilingualism can be seen in 3 ways <ul><li>Language as a problem </li></ul><ul><li>Language as a right </li></ul><ul><li>Language as a resource </li></ul><ul><li>(Baker 2006) </li></ul>
    29. 30. 1. Language as a problem <ul><li>Bilinguals’ bad press- early research </li></ul><ul><li>Gender issue </li></ul><ul><li>Myth re languages cause of conflict </li></ul><ul><li>Associated with the poor, the disadvantaged, the unassimilated immigrant </li></ul>
    30. 31. 2. Language as a right Dove Skutnabb-Kangas <ul><li>Linguistic human rights - minority education - language and power - links between biodiversity and linguistic diversity - bilingualism - language policy - global (subtractive) spread of English – </li></ul><ul><li>Linguistic Genocide(2000) </li></ul>
    31. 32. Language as a resource <ul><li>Bilingualism as an intellectual, cultural, economic social and citizenship resource </li></ul><ul><li>An asset both for communities and individuals </li></ul><ul><li>Successful Bilingual education </li></ul>
    32. 33. International Grammar School
    33. 34. <ul><li>Two-way immersion USA </li></ul><ul><li>Canadian schools, UK, Japan, China, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Benefits: metalinguistic skills, divergent thinking, first language literacy, intercultural competence, identity…. </li></ul>
    34. 35. A and B RECALL <ul><li>Please compare your Cornell notes </li></ul><ul><li>explain to your partner one thing you can remember about: </li></ul><ul><li>UN Year of languages </li></ul><ul><li>Joseph from Rwanda </li></ul><ul><li>Language can be seen in 3 ways--? </li></ul><ul><li>Dove Skutnabb-Kangas </li></ul>
    35. 36. Until Thursday
    36. 37. References <ul><li>Baker, C. (2006). Foundations of bilingual education and bilingualism. (4 th Ed.). Clevedon, NJ: Multilingual Matters. </li></ul><ul><li>Blommaert, J. (2001) Investigating narrative inequality: Analyzing African asylum seekers’ stories in Belgium. Discourse & Society 12: 413-449 </li></ul><ul><li>Blommaert, J., Creve, L., Willaert, E. (2006) On being declared illiterate: Language-ideological disqualification in Dutch classes for immigrants in Belgium. Language & Communication 26: 34-54 </li></ul><ul><li>Corson, D. (1993). Language, minority education and gender: Linking social justice and power. Clevedon, NJ: Multilingual Matters. </li></ul><ul><li>Cummins, J. (1996). Negotiating identities: Education for empowerment in a Diverse Society. Los Angeles: California Association for Bilingual Education. </li></ul><ul><li>Cummins, J. (2000). Language, power and pedagogy: Bilingual children in the crossfire. Clevedon, NJ: Multilingual Matters. </li></ul><ul><li>Irujo, S. (1998). Teaching bilingual children: Beliefs and behaviours. Boston: Heinle & Heinle. </li></ul><ul><li>. </li></ul>
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