Lived Literacies Essay Example
At first, the word “literacy” seemed to have a simple meaning. People hear it always, from the time they were youngsters to the time they become more judicious about their plans for the future. Literacy has always been a part of life, mainly because of the people’s desire to grow in knowledge, which they believe would give them wisdom that is vital when managing their lives. They learn how to read and write, to calculate and evaluate, and to determine the complexities, as they desire to grow—not just physically—but mentally and psychologically. It is evident therefore, that literacy is formed out of the experiences of people, and what they learned over the years, as part of an active, living society. More so, it is tantamount to both social condition and development, and can alter a person’s way of life, as well as the chances of acquiring knowledge advancement through the pursuit of literacy.
What Does Literacy Mean?
The word literate means “to be familiar with literature” (UNESCO 148). It also means “to be well educated and learned” (UNESCO 148). The word is also synonymous to being able to read and write. Literacy is a set of concrete skills usually on the side of the cognitive, such as finding meaning in words, or analyzing deeper implication on what is being read or written. It also includes scientific application of rational things like word recognition, phonetics, spelling, and vocabulary. All these reflect that “writing is the transcription of speech” (UNESCO 149) that, in relation to literacy, should have to do with the capacity of a person to express ideas, which form knowledge and disposition.
It is said that literacy has a large impact on human consciousness, since it allows progression from oral to literate levels of the culture. With this transition comes the ability to represent words by using signs, which would give a more definite, concrete shape within the brain, making it possible to build consciousness through the shaping of thoughts. This builds a framework from which one can analyze critically the ideas that form the rational consciousness, to which the faculties of reasoning are being articulated. As the ideas are compared and criticized, it builds a higher level of reasoning that, in the end, advances knowledge and understanding. It is in this aspect that people apply the basics of literacy, as basic knowledge is formed, learned, and then passed on to other members of the society.
What Is My View of Literacy?
In my past, literacy was tantamount to a step-by-step strategy that exhibits the manner of putting rational thoughts into a basic framework. Thoughts and ideas were accumulated from external sources, such as reading materials, listening materials, movies and shows, as well as pictures being displayed in posters, books, and magazines. Literacy was formed from the thoughts and ideas of people who influenced me—those who most of all, affected me as a child, in the gathering of all pieces of information that were formed in the brain. For this, my literacy history usually reflected people who were close to me during my youth, or those who deeply affected me and had been one of the major reasons why I became who I am now. Life was much simpler back then, as literacy was formed from what took place in the everyday living—from the lectures of teachers to the advises of parents. It was as if, literacy was a subjective condition formed through interaction with members of the community.
At present, literacy is tantamount to a deeper, more complex and dynamic course of events that exhibited the aspect of putting the basics needed, to be able to continue creating a basic framework within the brain. Literacy nowadays seemed more than just a step-by-step strategy, or more than the basic accumulation of simple knowledge within the brain. Rather, it is defined by the exploration of sources needed in forming an idea or a presumption, and in accumulating knowledge to create a more profound, dynamic framework within the mind. At this advanced stage, literacy is more of a social condition, or something that only a few chosen ones are able to accumulate. Not everyone has the opportunity to advance in knowledge, especially since only a few has enough assets for the pursuit of literacy.
Special Issues on Literacy
There are a number of issues that are reflected in my experience of literacy. First, it is evident that there seemed to be a “remoteness” in literacy, especially for those who wanted to gain knowledge but would have no available resources that would give them the benefit. In my case, for example, I would have had the capacity of advancing my state of literacy if there would be enough programs set for students who would wish to apply for education abroad. This was one of my plans for the future: to be able to finish my bachelor’s degree in another foreign country. However, it seemed that there were not enough school programs available, which should be perfect for my case. Secondly, there were not enough substantial backing, even in the educational programs implemented by the state government. With this, it is a requirement for students, interested in studying abroad, to have high scores during schools activities and examinations, to be able to avail an educational scholarship. It is evident therefore, that to be able to access education in foreign countries, students should have the foundations needed, especially when it comes to finances, which is difficult to avail. This only proves the remoteness of literacy, as reflected in my experiences over the years.
Another issue concerning literacy has something to do with “pessimism”. As mentioned in the article of Elizabeth Keefe and Susan Copeland,
The belief that, individuals with extensive needs for support cannot acquire literacy skills, often results in a lack of opportunity to learn these skills and therefore becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. (Keefe and Copeland 92)
It was as if doubt and negativity can come in the way, as individuals often become pessimistic on whether they can indeed pursue literacy. I once experienced this, in which the fulfillment of my wishes seemed to present a great challenge, and it seemed to give doubt on whether or not I can pursue literacy and acquire new knowledge. With this comes the need for optimism and belief in oneself, for all individuals to have the gift of pursuit regardless of their financial state, physical condition, or perceived ability in gaining literacy.
Lastly, there is the issue of literacy as a “human right”, which means that everyone should have the means and opportunity to achieve or pursue literacy, no matter what the physical, social, or financial condition of the person. This was reflected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), as they implemented the Experimental World Literacy Program back in the 1960s. In this agenda, it was stated that, every person carries a fundamental right to pursue literacy, especially for those who have extensive needs. These rights are “non-negotiable”, according to Keefe and Copeland (92), since literacy was supposed to be an aspect of being human, and it should never be taken as privilege only to a small number of citizens. For this, my parents taught me about reading and writing, while paying for my school tuition, since it is everyone’s right to gain knowledge and literacy. This led me to work harder in school, such as by reading and writing well, to be able to gain scholarship and pursue my dreams of advancing my skills in literacy.
The history of my pursuit for literacy reflects stages that differ in terms of the manner in which knowledge is being acquired. There is complexity in the strategy, especially since there is nothing simple in the way of acquiring the resources for gaining new skills and knowledge. However, what is evident here is that, literacy is tantamount to a social condition of a state or a nation, since it is related to the capacity of the nation to implement laws necessary for the advancement of education. Likewise, it is related to the ability of the schools and educational institutions of providing support for citizens, who wanted to gain advancement in their level of literacy, either domestically or in other foreign countries. This is the reason why most individuals in poorer countries have had lower levels of literacy, while the powerful ones appear to have highly literate citizens. It seemed that the nation’s power or capacity influences the citizens’ level of literacy, as proven in my experience.
Secondly, it is evident that there is strong connection between literacy and social development. Through literacy, there is economic growth, which is substantial to earning more profits and gaining progress in almost all ways. This can also be taken on a more personal, individual view. Citizens who are more literate would have more opportunity of achieving self-development within the society and thus, would make them more probable of receiving benefits from the society and the economy. If this is the case, then individuals like me would have better opportunities in gaining literacy if we remain literate, since it leads to situation advancement, while harnessing the skills and state of competencies. Thus, literate citizens tend to have better life in the future, as literacy leads to a stage of advancement, giving them the capacity to pursue knowledge, leading to a more successful life cycle. Conclusion
Literacy is never a simple, customary word when looking at the real world. It is tantamount to both social condition and development, and it can alter a person’s way of life through the benefits that one can receive from the social world. More so, it is reflective of the country’s financial and economic levels, and the social condition made available to the citizens. It has always been a rule that everyone should be given the opportunity to learn how to read and write, as well as to gain advancement in skills and knowledge. However, literacy will only come to those who have the support of both the society and the government, and for the remaining citizens, they would have to have the capacity to find means and resources. Thus, it professes that literacy is actually a gift that only a few citizens are able to receive.
Keefe, Elizabeth, and Susan Copeland. “What is Literacy? The Power of a Definition.” Research & Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities 36.3 (2011): 92-99.
UNESCO. “Chapter 6: Understandings of Literacy.” Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2006: Literacy for Life. 2006. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. 19 March 2015 <http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/leading-the-international-agenda/efareport/reports/2006-literacy/>.