What is Literacy?

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What is Literacy?

Post  Atticus P on Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:50 am

Literacy is the ability to fully understand a certain discourse (i.e. a given ideal, such as one’s own nationality, a skill picked up over the years, a pop culture phenomenon, and so on) through use of learning and acquisition. Learning, Gee defines, is precisely what most of us would think it is; it is the process of gathering new information from a source, a source which does not necessarily have to be a teacher, but is most commonly achieved through teachers. Acquisition will require a little more explanation. Acquisition is the process of using what you have already learned in the past to better understand a given subject. I will use how I learned to play the saxophone, as well as how I bettered my playing through acquisition, as an example. In seventh grade, I was taught how to play each individual note on the instrument. I LEARNED how to play. While I was not by any stretch of the imagination a skilled player, I had a grasp on what I was doing. As school went on and high school came, I became better at playing the saxophone simply by playing it everyday and critiquing my own playing style. Scale patterns, dynamics, and other technical aspects of music became easier for me to understand. I ACQUIRED the skill.

It changed my understanding of the subject a bit. It introduced the separation of understanding between learning and acquisition, an idea that I found to make complete sense in regards to education, skills, and so on. While learning is a necessity when wanting to understand a new subject, acquisition is what truly stores all of that information permanently into your mind. To say that learning, as defined by Gee, is ineffective in a student’s mind would be fairly inaccurate. To say, however, that it is a necessary evil required in order to better understand a discourse would be much closer to being true, in my opinion.

As far as how it will affect my literacy story, I believe it will help in showing the change over time in my understanding of my topic. I will be able to explain the use and effectiveness of both learning and acquisition as pertained to my topic, which should make my essay a better paper overall.

Atticus P
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