what is literacy? James Paul Gee

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what is literacy? James Paul Gee

Post  lmtiefenbrunn on Wed Oct 08, 2014 11:35 am

1. Summarize Gee's definition of literacy. Try using his terminology to illustrate his definition.
Gee described literacy with talking about discourse. He talked about two types of discourse. Primary and secondary. "Rather, these children use language, behavior, values and beliefs to give a different shape to their experience." When talking about primary I thought this quote he used represented it well. It talked about why we truly use primary discourse, how we use it in our lives and how it helps. When referring to secondary discourse it means you learn from surroundings. Meaning you pick things up, its not learned in a classroom or necessarily taught but you pick it up. "These secondary discourses all build on, and extend, the uses of language we acquired as part of our primary discourse, and they [are] more or less compatible with the primary discourses of different social groups. " I think by this he meant that the secondary discourse only adds on to your knowledge, while primary is the main discourse.
Even though both of the discourses are different they both relate. "Any discourse, primary or secondary, is for most people most of the time only mastered through acquisition, not learning." The main thing I took away from reading this is that I know believe Literacy is not learned but it is gained knowledge through practice.

2. Did this change your understanding of literacy? If so, how? And, how might this affect your understanding of your own literacy story?
I would say it added on to my understanding of literacy but also confused me. I never associated discourse, acquisition and learning to literacy. After reading this I now understand how the author does relate these together. Beforehand I thought literacy was reading and writing. But now I feel it has all of these additional factors. I only thought literacy was one thing and now i believe there are a lot of different types combined. This affects my understanding by the way I believe I am learning. I always thought literacy was going to be taught but now I believe it something I will have to gain with experience and time.


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