Sunday, March 30, 2014

Literacy with an Attitude: Quotes

This week’s reading, Literacy with an Attitude by Patrick J. Finn, was definitely challenging for me. Most of the time I know what I want to write about and focus on for my blog post, but this week was different. I found myself highlighting a lot, learning a lot, but at the same time feeling overwhelmed and rereading much of the article. So after much reading I have decided to do a quotes blog for this week
“Literacy is not seen as dangerous among the working people and unemployed of the United States is that we have developed two kinds of education. First, there is empowering education, which leads to powerful literacy, the kind of literacy that leads to position of power and authority. Second there is domesticating education, which leads to functional literacy, literacy that makes a person productive and dependable, but not troublesome”.
This quote really caught my attention. Throughout the article we learn about the differences between the elite schools and the working class schools. “The working class children were learning how to follow directions and do mechanical, [and] low paying work” meanwhile the “executive elite children were learning to be masters of the universe”. This gap in education is what makes the pattern go in this country, how the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Is not that the working class children are any less smart than the elite executive children, what is happening is the way in which they are treated and taught. How there are different expectations for each group according to their social and economic status.  If we keep the system as it has been, then the cycle will continue on, and as Finn mentioned, the working class children will just learn the domesticating education, which benefits the elite, and most importantly that prevents the working class from realizing the injustice in the education system which prevents them from receiving an equal education, just like the one the upper class children receive.
“I say if they thought about it, because Freire understood a fundamental fact bout the lives of the illiterate Third World poor, they don’t think about it. They are so submerged in their daily lives that they have little or no awareness of the possibility for change.”
As I read the article and reread many parts of it, I just couldn’t get over Paulo Freire. His way of viewing literacy and the importance for illiterate people of Brazil to learn how to read, is amazing. His technique was the most fascinating. This quote was just one that I had to write about. It reminded me of Kozol and Mott Haven. The people there were so stuck in dealing with their problems, that they forgot there might be a way out. That what was happening to them was not a thing to do with fate, but it had to do with a broken system, and they had to fix it. This was happening in Brazil, and it is happening now in our country. As well as Freire, I believe that education and literacy is a tool that can help to initiate a revolution for equality and “today we understand that many social setups are possible [and that] roles and rules can be transformed so that there is greater justice and equity”.  Just like Paulo Freire did, if we teach our youth about the injustices taking place, and how they are going to part of it, perhaps there will be a greater desire to learn and to make a change. I think it is important to let them know. From what I can see in my Service Learning classroom children are so stuck in their own struggles that it is up to us to help them realize what is happening, perhaps even their parents. I can say from experience from working with tutoring Latino children, their parents are so busy working two jobs, or getting used to this country that they also don’t realize the possibility for change. Following Freire’s example, working on the literacy of adults can make a huge change, and here we could make a change happen by not only working with the literacy of our youth but of parents as well.
This is a video of Paulo Freire. He is just great.
“In the working class schools, knowledge was presented as fragmented facts isolated from wider bodies of meaning and from the lives and experiences of the students. [A] teacher in one working class school commented that she skipped pages dealing with mathematical reasoning and inference because they were too hard”
This is another quote I had to write about. Maybe because it made me so mad that I just had to talk about it. As mentioned before there shouldn’t be different expectations from different students simply because they come from lower or different social and economic classes. In the elite executive schools, they were learning to be creative and to be the “masters if the universe”, and there is no reason why in our schools there is a different standard and method of teaching towards students who don’t belong in the upper classes. This again reminds me of Kozol, and the idea of a broken system. How our education system is not equal for everyone, and how this inequality plays a role in the way students view themselves and in the knowledge they receive, which can later shape their future.
For discussion points, I would like to talk about why, why our education is the way it is and how us as future can do as much as possible to help change this. I was personally thinking to follow Freire’s example and even help minority parents learn more English and be more literate in it so that they can have more power in helping to have a more equal education system.  



  1. You picked awesome quotes this week! This was a very hard reading so I think pinpointing what we DID understand is a really great tactic. Together as a group this week we helped each other figure this out! Great job and your personal thoughts and explanations of the quotes were great

  2. I love the quotes you picked to focus on! I too felt like I was highlighting a lot while reading. There was so much information that I found connected to a lot of different ideas! Great job.

  3. you did really good job on your post, and I definitely thought that this article was very challenging as well, it took a long time for me to figure out what to write about and focus on! Great job though!