Reading is power. Power because of the knowledge it can bring. The doors it can open and a
In adult education – literacy – the ability to read and read well also brings freedom. Freedom to do – to try – to reach for something more; whether you are in ESL, ABE, GED, K-12, or Higher Education.
For those that want to be seen for who they are (on their own terms) and not labeled by their education or lack thereof; the ability to manipulate those letters into sounds that form words, enable language, and with that language the user has a voice. In the world of education, having a voice is what gives you an arena or platform to be seen.
In chapter one of Janks, Literacy and Power, (p.11) English is defined as the “global language” in South Africa. In a country where there are many tribal dialects and languages, representative of the people that comprise its country and culture; the “linguistic diversity” of the country is categorized by level of importance.
Janks argued that by teaching children in only two languages - Afrikaans and English - children’s cultural identities were not being acknowledged and were therefore, “compromised”. Those two languages were seen as the key to learning, the key to power, and the key to freedom:
“I could not but be aware that language is fundamentally tied to questions of power.”Clearly identity is tied to language and culture for all of us. When your native language is not represented and acknowledge as important in your own country, what message does that send to us about our importance? What does that do to you when you become an adult? Where is your sense of self? What is your sense of self? Where is your power?
“…the fundamental connections between language and learning were clear.”
These past week’s readings for TEDU 681 were diverse in their subject matter and focus, to say the least. Yet, I found that there was a universal thread that connected them all. Each assigned reading (Strucker, Alamprese, Janks, and Reder) examined the many different facets that make up or fall under the Adult literacy umbrella. I became more knowledgeable about the lack of funding made available for more research studies, theoretical discourse, critical theory, what comprises reading component assessment in a constructive and beneficial way for the learner; along with literacy practices by learners and their place in formal assessment of literacy skills in and outside of the classroom. All of this had me thinking about my own reading abilities, and how I learned as a child through to my current status as “Adult learner” in Grad school. My fundamental identity of who I am is comprised of many things. But my ability to read and practice various literacy skill-sets, at this point in my life, has empowered me beyond what I could have possibly imagined for myself in this dual role I now inhabit as an educator and learner.
As a reader of this week’s assigned material, there were times when I felt overwhelmed by the language and uncertain that I understood or could connect with the material. Yet, I didn't give up. I took my time (as much was possible and still meet the deadlines imposed) and found myself going