Monday, October 26, 2009

What They Left Out

Moll and Gonzalez note that the students in their study, "borrowed from each other's experiences in making sense of the stories, relating them to their own lives, and evaluating the worthiness of the books" (156). I can vividly recall the literacy of my childhood; and, when I do, I see the same stultifying effect of the canonical rejection/acceptance. Then, comic books were of great importance to me, because they allowed me to connect with my peers--my social network. The language found in the books my school was to have me read was far too difficult and not applicable to my world. As Moll and Gonzalez report, there is a greater advantage to using multiple languages in the acquisition of literacy, because it allows minority students to tap their own "funds of knowledge" (160). While I concur that biliteracy is important, I further propose that even in one's native language melioristic barriers form from the influences and pressures of the textual authorities. For, I was involved in school activities occurring in my native language, yet I didn't have access to funds of knowledge because the concepts presented were far from my reach.

In their conclusion, Moll and Gonzalez quote Wallace's statement that literacy moves "beyond minimal interpretations of [...] the ability to read and write to a view of literacy as a resource which offers possibilities of access to what has been said and thought about the world" (171). Even in a native language, literacy, funds of knowledge, and ideas die from the irrelevancy of the words, subjects and concepts to the seeker. This surfaces in the Freedom Writers, where all of the students participate in speaking and learning the same literacy, in the same language. In the film, there is no empowerment of the students in the "dumb class." These kids seek to participate in the acquisition of literacies which will allow them to tap their funds of knowledge: magazines, artwork, gang signs, etc. The film implies that the students have created a norm for literacy relevancy, through the evaluation of the books which the textual authorities would have them read.

But what about the process of reading and writing? Doesn't it allow for a greater access to the understanding of what has been said about the world? In that affect, is it not greater than what is said? Whether it is said or written in one's native language, or a language foreign to the seeker, thought must be understood through the acquisition of a word. Second, the thought will be evaluated by peers and a social community to the relevancy of the text. So, literacy must first be converted to an easily understood language, and then addressed through the motivation of the seeker; yet, further addressed through the motivation of the seeker, while maintaining relevancy and understandability. All groups do not have the same background and access to literacy, regardless of language.

Thus, studying minority, bilingual households can be of great importance to the methods of the teacher; though, at the same time it fails to address the issue of working-class students, in the native language, with less access to funds of knowledge.

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