Our Honeymoon 9-17-10

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Literacy with an Attitude-hyperlinks

Worldwide, there are more than 770 million illiterate adults, two-thirds of whom are women. In addition, there are over 100 million children not currently enrolled in primary school and millions of others not currently enrolled in secondary school. Education is a lifelong gift that empowers people to ultimately improve socioeconomic conditions for their families, communities, countries, and future generations. Through the opportunities that only an education can provide, we can break the cycle of illiteracy, one child at a time.

Patrick J. Finn is the author of Literacy with an Attitude. In this article, Finn tries to explain to his readers how important it is to educate the working and lower class students in "powerful literacy and empowering education" just like the upper and middle class students are. Finn's writing is very clear and to the point. He made it easy to read for all readers. He has examples and he even explains his own background and how he became a teacher and then a professor. His writing is capturing and believable.

Now I question if he's right after reading the first two chapters. Do teachers teach working and lower class students differently? Do we all particpate in this social system because its just natural to us? It's important for issues in educaton be discussed and examined so teachers can question their own teaching. Are they teaching based on ability or due to class? Finn explains how the United States has developed two types of literacy and he also goes on to explain how teachers must follow the mechanisms to give working class a decent education. He brings up the point how he is direct to his middle/lower class students, like Delpit explains in her article from last week.

Finn explained that there's two types of literacy being taught in the United States. First, there is empowering edcuation, which leads to powerful literacy. This turns to leadership in positons and authority for the rich/upper class. The second, domesticating education, which leads people to a productive and dependable life for the middle class. But the working class does not get powerful literacy, which causes a struggle for these students. He makes the points that teachers, parents, and older students need to understand the mechanisms to give the working class a powerful literacy education. He said they must understand the relationship between society, culture, language, and schooling. They must understand the relationships between progressive methods, liberating education, and powerful literacy on the one hand and traditional methods, domesticating education, and functional literacy on the other. Finally, when working class children get empowering education you get literacy with an attitude.

The last thing I wanted to mention was Finn's experience as a Professor because he learned an important lesson, which is why I think he wrote this article the way he did. He is not blaming teachers for not educating the lower/working class students with an empowering education with liteacry. I think he is just trying to open ours eyes to say, that it exists, and if you didn't know that it did, then examine your classroom and re-evaluate your ways of teaching. The paragraph below describes his experience.

As a Professor, Finn teaches how to teach Language Arts in the elementary schools to teachers. He said he has had hard-bitten school teachers who were practical and down to earth. They judged everything he said, especially by saying, "How would this work in my classroom?" This is what he asked when he was in college to his professors. He pointed out that poor children are not being well educated as they could be, but his teachers/students took an attack. These teachers took his opinion personally. They taught him a lesson. He will no longer point his finger at people and he will not question their intelligence, their commitment, or their motives. At the end Finn realizes it's hard-bitten teachers who will implement these plans for all students.

Of Inequality of Education-YouTube video
* These are great YouTube videos. I just had a hard time getting the video on my blog. Please watch.


  1. Hi Stacey, I really enjoyed your overview of Finn's article. He seemed to have similar points to Kozol's article. It makes me wonder if all of this information is out there why is there still so many problems within the education system. Your second youtube video not only illustrated the point of the article but also showed that the unequal distribution of education is prevalent in other western nations. See you in class, Jenn

  2. Stacey:
    I agree with what you said when you questioned if all teachers taught different classes of students differently. I'm sure some do, but it seems to me that Finn sometimes over-generalizes.