As the topic is up for grabs, I have been thinking a lot about what to ask. While doing the Literacy Remixed projects, I began to realize how much I’ve been thinking about literacy and applying some of the concepts we’ve talked about in this class to other things in my life. I didn’t know that I was doing this until I got caught in a discussion with my friend a few nights ago about how socioeconomic disparities affect so much in one’s perception of life. It has also got me thinking about how privileged I am in my situation. I am curious: Has this class has either changed your thinking about anything or started new discussions amongst your peers?
Computer programming and coding is a very up and coming field. In this age, we rely so heavily on technology and access to it, and being able to even understand what goes into creating many of the technologies we use, would go a long way. The wide use of programming could also lead to quicker growth in the market, with many more minds working towards ideas.
The only issue I can see would be access to the knowledge of coding. To be able to learn such a “literacy” would require access to a computer, something that a significant portion of people may not have. With this constraint, will coding become widely known or even into a literacy? A point that Professor Vee expresses is that there must be a shift in literacy in order to accommodate to the growing form of digital writing. However, in “From Pencils to Pixels”, Baron also speaks to the difficulty adjusting back to the basic reading and writing, after using a digital counterpart for so long. Thus, it may be hard to hone in on literacy if the method in which we practice the basics is spread too thin. Thus, do you think this shift is feasible?
In the Cornelius article, much of it discussed the “rights” given to slaves in the 1800s in each state, and the discrepancy in between. He references a Benjamin Russell in South Carolina who says “we were taught to read… it was against the law to teach a slave to write”. They went on to say that reading was taught against the law there, but there seems to have been no flexing the law when it came to writing. Upon reading this, my initial reaction was disgust. It felt that the community was okay with educating slaves, as they knew that they were able to learn those skills, but did not provide them with the means to express themselves.
With this thought, I had the question of “How is the skill of reading impaired without the ability to write?” For these slaves, who were surely silenced on a daily basis, writing could have been their outlet. The fact that they were taught to read is very fortunate, but still being denied writing seems very cruel. I imagine that – with the skill of reading – a slave in this time period could have benefited from this outlet or means of communication, at the very least.
What I got from the Viera paper, last week’s discussion, and my personal experiences is that it is so hard for immigrants to come to this country and maintain their background successfully. The South Hills Azorean community talked about how the immigrants had a very hard time balancing their language skills in their native tongue and English.
I had a very similar experience but it also impacted my cultural roots. My brother and I have grown very distant because it feels like America has such a strong sense of its culture that it overpowers immigrants. Not only that, but many parts of America have a hard time embracing all cultural traditions and being open to all experiences. For example, growing up Kwanzaa was always mentioned as somewhat of a joke and “not a real holiday” as opposed to Christmas. We celebrated Christmas Break, not Hannukah or Kwanzaa or even a Holiday Break. There are certain “American Traditions” that are valued over the others and that makes it hard for an immigrant to blend in their culture into what they thought was the “Melting Pot of America”.
So how do we create an environment that fosters for healthy bilingual and multicultural growth?
As I was reading the Purceil-Gates piece, I went through a lot of emotions. I was mainly upset when Jenny said that, regarding how to read, “some people think it’s easy… but it ain’t.” That just broke my heart. Why is it hat so many of those in a lower socioeconomic status lack these resources to improve and get a better life? Why is it that these city schools that truly need exceptional teachers, really don’t seem to make the impact they need to, or to push the students like they need to? And the public then dares to blame these people on “not trying to better themselves” and “just skating by” when it truly does not seem to be their faults, at least not in the case of those like Jenny and Donny. My question is how do we begin to address this issue of literacy in those of a lower socioeconomic status, like the ones living in the rough areas of the city?
While reading “Lives on the Boundary” by Rose, he mentioned his story of getting so interested in chemistry so much so that he got the chemistry set and began to learn. This sparked my interest as well as my question of “How has curiosity affected your literacy?” Before we address this question, we have to begin at not everyone can afford to be curious. There are cultures and situations, in particular, financial, in which one’s ability to be curious may be limited. For example, in my family and the environment I was raised in, I was blessed to be in a financially stable situation, but my culture did not allow for curiosity in terms of social events. I was not allowed to go to hang out with friends over night, I wasn’t allowed to go to “parties”, I was also not allowed to consider things that fostered creativity. I was pushed to do more academic pursuits. Considering all of this, “How has curiosity affected your literacy?” I believe being pushed toward the academic side of learning has benefited me in many ways. I took a lot of online classes growing up in math and science and that really fostered that curiosity. I began to enjoy those academic pursuits. In doing so, I think it left me a little socially delinquent. Learning those social cues and “social literacy”, if you will, was a hard transitional period in the first semester of college. What about you? How has your upbringing and moreso your curiosity affected your literacy?
The first memory of literacy that came to mind when we were assigned this post was my freshman year journal. Since middle school, watching my brother leave for college, I was always envious of all he was learning there. So when I first arrived to Pitt in fall 2013, I was so excited to take in all that this school could offer me, educationally but even more so socially. I grew up in a very sheltered environment and never really got to find my own interests and meet too many people so coming to this massive school surrounded by culture was just what I wanted. I began to write in a journal of everything I was learning and seeing, knowing that I would want to preserve the memory of that precious year. Now that I look back to it, I can really sense different things I was feeling at the time and see myself grow over the course of the year in the ways I thought about things. When I first started, it felt odd and a little forced, but now I am very happy to have this log of my first year.