Multiple Literaces

Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligence – 6 forms of intelligence that added together to make a g-factor.

Literacy can be split into different sections similar to Gardner’s theory.

Contextual situations can completely change the dynamic and intrinsic value of something.

Context in a situation –  Literacy means different things in different context like how texts are inform and the expectation isn’t the same with a research paper for college or a report for your job.

Symbolism – Depending on life circumstances simple things like water being a symbol for cleanliness could instead be a fearful notion to somebody who has almost drowned.

There is a basic understanding in psychology that you can’t gauge intelligence based on standard tests. Some people are just not good at some things but could be insanely amazing at others. For me this split is painfully obvious in that I just can’t art. Art isn’t normally a verb but in this case I think it suffices to say that I really just can’t art. That doesn’t make me stupid, in fact in our current culture many would say my math and reading comprehension skills would qualify me as a near genius. There are people that are the opposite of me who are amazing at artistic things but struggle with basic math. Does that make me smarter than them? Yes it does. By our current social standards I would be smarter than that person, but so what? Being “smarter” doesn’t mean jack squat if they can make a living off of what they love while I have to conform to society’s standards since I’m good at testing I’m expected to follow through with education and then get a job with math. I think people with artistic talents should be given the same opportunities even though they might not be able to test well.

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Literacy, Test Literacy and Equality

‘The Elements of Literacy” addressed a serious issue with recent changes to the education system. No Child Left Behind is possibly the biggest change to teaching in the past century, it changed the way we access students and standardized teaching methods throughout. I think there are many problems with NCLB, but the biggest issue I have is the way it forced teachers to change their methods. In order to satisfy test requirements set by outside forces many schools have chosen to adapt  Common Core learning which is a huge problem for teachers and students alike. The changes somewhat help lower end students, but severely cripple those borderline advanced students who aren’t confident enough to take AP classes but have the aptitude to succeed in higher education. No longer do teachers get freedom in their lessons, it’s regulated by every kind of committee and board imaginable. It hurts people to enforce standards across a board, but having goals for students to met is necessary. The NCLB and Common Core changes are addressing the Board of Education’s concerns not students.

The metaphorical pissing contest America has with the rest of the world over who is the “best” at everything, has led to wanting quantifiable data to compare with other nations. The easiest way to do this is to make standards to grade students against. Unfortunately this hurts students in the long run, when they try to get a job there isn’t a test they take to apply. You need real skills like interpersonal communication not memorization and regurgitation. Treating students how to be mini-encyclopedias for a few months then forgetting everything they learned isn’t how you prepare students for their future.

Multiple forms of literacy are equally important for living in the 21st century. Social, Cultural and Digital literacy are a must. The ability to infer information from conversations with others is key in the business world and is one of the basic forms of social literacy. This isn’t really taught in schools, instead it is supposed to be “common sense” which for some people it isn’t.  In my mind the problems created in our public school systems are easily solved within those systems but outside forces are retarding progress towards general literacy and imposing testing literacy on students.

My view on literacy stands as the ability to interact and understand concepts across multiple platforms. Without a broad knowledge base across the many facets of living in the modern era, I don’t think you can thrive in this modern world.