I believe a written paper would have served me better, allowing me to see the gaps in my work; however, I think there was an important purpose in sharing our work with the class. Through multi-media presentations, classmates were afforded the opportunity to learn from each other in a way that exchanging written papers would not have allowed. We interacted with the presenter, and each other, by completing an activity and posing questions. In this way, we learned more than if we had completed our projects in isolation and / or simply read each others' papers.
Now we have the opportunity to use this blog as a tool to reflect and address feedback on our work,. Maybe we can continue learning from each other. For example, Susangale's post expanded my knowledge of validity, Annie's post helped me better understand teacher-student power relationships, and Joyce's post helped me understand how literacy is viewed/valued by our society. In that spirit, I'm asking for help to better understand and describe stakeholders I overlooked, hinted about, but did not explain or describe explicitly in my presentation. I'm struggling for words that will describe rather than other or vilify this group. Please allow me to explain.
I further described how I did not challenge the linear ideology; I was blind to my position in it, not realizing my part or the way I benefited from it. I actually put my little picture at the end of the equation, but I did not explain further. What I missed was describing the stakeholders in this model--the group that is threatened, or fights the war on illiteracy. This is the group that benefits from the status quo (like a teacher who needs a job), and therefore does not question this ideology. This is the group that holds power and is threatened by change. This is the group that defines a point between literacy and illiteracy and, around it, constructs enough scientific data as to forget the underlying assumption: literacy is treated as neutral thing that is isolated and measured. Brian Street (1984) describes this group as follows
From the point of view of many States, who badly needed such investments, literacy programs represented an input factor whose success was to be assessed in terms of the economic return. This meant that ultimate determination of the programme lay with financial and commercial interests, with governments acting simply as mediators and providers of the 'risk capital' in terms of the infrastructure of education and training. The subjects themselves were a form of 'plant' whose effectiveness could be maximised by the employment of new 'educational technology' in the form of 'literacy skills', thereby enabling greater surplus to be extracted from them (p. 184).
It was easy to describe these anonymous stakeholders as capitalist villains. It was too easy to build my case. True, this was a simple, student representation of a complex ideology, but I did not provide another perspective in addition to my own. My project lacks validity without another point of view. This was my other critical omission.
In the few lines remaining on this post, I can add that the linear ideology serves a purpose. Without it, we would have chaos. By conducting more interviews and showing data that support this model's successes, I could build a case for the need to measure and quantify literacy in some way. The linear model exists to provide accountability to stakeholders such as governments and taxpayers. The linear model provides a much needed service; many people realize success in its programs.
Thank you for reading this long post. Reflecting via this blog has helped me better understand how to improve what I presented to you in class. I would love to hear your thoughts on my project. Susan