"The whole movement of life is learning" (Krishnamurti). "To be an act of knowing, then, the adult literacy process must engage the learners in the constant problematizing of their existential situations" (Freire). "Once you learn to read, you will be forever free" (Douglass). "I can learn anything I have the desire to learn" (White, S.G.).

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Legal Literacy

This is something that's been on my mind since February - well, actually, longer than that, but the class is helping me see something different in it. While all literacy teaching is ideological, how can anyone learn legal literacy? If you read the news, legalities don't always factor into judicial decisions. And if you watch television, legal literacy is the job of someone advertising that 'if you've been injured, we can get you money'. And don't even start me on things like J. G. Wentworth. I googled that, and found that it is SUCH a ripoff. What does this have to do with literacy? Well, where would anyone go to become legally literate, if they're not becoming a lawyer? Everyone needs legal literacy, but about the only legal literacy anyone teaches in writing if it's not specifically legal, is that the entity providing the text is making it very clear that they are not legally liable for anything that may happen. I have four children, and even though I have no legal training, they still lean on me for legal advice. Am I legally literate? Absolutely not. But our ages give us knowledge that we cannot acquire simply through texts. Everyone sees legalities in life. So this is my 'this has nothing to do with our readings' entry for today. It's actually kind of nice to be able to discuss opinions on literacy that have to do with more than reading and writing, so thank you, Susan.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Joyce - I think your post gets at the heart of what we're learning in class. By taking a c-s-c perspective on literacy practice, and recognizing different kinds of knowledge as "valuable," your question "Am I legally literate?" would be answered "yes!" Does this mean you can act as attorney in a legal matter? No, but your legal knowledge is real, legimate, and valued.

    The tension I feel from your post is that there is pressure to view formal ways of teaching the law (or anything else for that matter) as the only/best/valued way to acquire that knowledge. Wisdom and life-long learning isn't nearly as valued. I completely agree with you that society makes us feel this way!

    I can't remember which article (Kristin Perry?) discussed how taking a c-s-c view has us consider different disciplines (law, computers, etc) NOT as separate skill sets, rather, as a whole literacy practice embedded in a context. Everything we learn comes through our culture and experiences. A mother teaching her children about legal issues is a genuine source of knowledge, and a valuable way of teaching and learning. Your (anyone's) way of practicing literacy in a legal discourse may position you more on the periphery depending on the complexity of the issue, but your position in that discourse is real, valued, and honored.

    Wow I'm way out there. Anyway, that's my opinion - and I think your wisdom and knowledge is valuable and I love reading your posts! Susan


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on this post. Diverse opinions are welcomed.