Literacy Talk

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Literacy Talk

Post  RobertHoll on Tue Oct 07, 2014 5:05 pm

What I processed from James Paul Gee's definition of literacy is that it is the "mastering" of a secondary discourse, meaning language we learn not from our families, but from social acquisition. Gee's main point in his argument is that grammar and structural learning can be beneficial to developing literacies, but that secondary discourses, or dominant discourses, are vital to helping us master these literacies and promote "social goods". The acquisition of secondary discourses isn't learned by instruction, but rather through "apprenticeship". Social practices and involvement develop our idea of literacy, and also help us distinguish between different discourses. Discourses are tricky to talk about because you have to be in the discourse to truly understand it. One cannot be in a discourse if they aren't "fluent" in it. Literacy is the use of primary discourses and acquired secondary discourses to interact with society.

This description of literacy from Gee changed my views on literacy through its distinction of primary and secondary discourses. Prior to reading this definition from Gee, I sort of knew that literacy was more about connecting with particular audience rather than creating a grammatically correct structure of sentences. What I did not know, however, was the difference between learning and acquisition with regard to literacy. My literacy story will more be focused on my ability to use my secondary discourses, rather than relying on the basic discourses I've always known. Acquisition trumps learning, so my story won't be entirely about a process of creating ideas or strict structure. Literacy is about connecting with society to strengthen society, which is something I had not thought about until reading Gee's ideas.

RobertHoll
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