Perspectives on literacy in support of lifelong learning

Forrester. A. T. A. E (2002-12)

Thesis (MEdPsych)--University of Stellenbosch, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study highlights focal issues of literacy and lifelong learning within the context of the formal schooling system. Problems and issues pertaining to policy and practice are examined within the broad framework of a selected set of perspectives on literacy. The nature of the problem of literacy worldwide, and in South Africa in particular, provides sufficient scope to investigate literacy in terms of research, theory and practice. The synergy between curriculum change and social transformation in South Africa which lies embedded within Outcomes-based Education (OBE), creates possibilities for developing functionally literate citizens who are able to negotiate their lives successfully and independently. The qualitative and interpretative nature of this literature study entails a process of researching and comparing the different levels of literacy within a framework of multiple perspectives. These different perspectives on literacy also highlight contrasting conceptualisations, and consequent definitions of literacy emphasise the importance of both context and content. What being literate means, thus, lies embedded within these conceptualisations. Finding new ways of seeing and doing literacy, in order to improve literacy policies and practices, is at the heart of this research endeavour. The "golden thread" running through the different perspectives signifies the functional role of literacy and suggests a stronger emphasis on viewing literacy as a functional and social practice underlying lifelong learning in the broadest possible sense. Teachers have a cardinal role to play in building capacity in and adding value to the South African citizenry and in supporting learners to develop the necessary functional and critical literacy skills to express themselves adequately on a written and and spoken level. The objective of this study is to offer a broader conceptualisation of literacy which embraces it as a lifelong endeavour, honed through use and purpose. The significant differences between the traditional and the more modern approaches to literacy development underscore the emphasis on its functionality and potential for human resource development. All these issues have implications for literacy policy and practice. Acquiring literacy skills entails taking into consideration that: different levels and standards of literacy skills are possible, subject matter differs and different purposes for literacy exist. Only when people are equipped with the personal knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that enable them to live as productive and self-sufficient citizens, able to make informed decisions and responsible choices, can sustainable, social transformation become a reality.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie beklemtoon hoofsaaklik geletterdheid en lewenslange leer binne die konteks van die formele skoolsisteem. Probleme en geskilpunte aangaande beleid en die praktyk word binne die breë raamwerk van 'n geselekteerde stel perspektiewe oor geletterdheid ondersoek. Die aard en omvang van die probleem van geletterdheid, wêreldwyd en in die besonder Suid-Afrika, bied voldoende geleenthede om geletterdheidsbeleid, -teorie en -praktyke te bestudeer. Die sinergie tussen kurrikulumvernuwing en sosiale tranformasie in Suid-Afrika, wat ten grondslag van Uitkomsgebaseerde Onderwys (UGO) lê, skep moontlikhede vir die ontwikkeling van funksioneel geletterde burgers wat in staat is om hul lewens suksesvol en onafhanklik te bestuur. Die kwalitatiewe en verklarende aard van die literatuurstudie behels 'n vergelykende navorsingsproses wat geletterdheid op verskillende vlakke ondersoek, binne 'n raamwerk van veelvoudige perspektiewe. Hierdie verskillende perspektiewe oor geletterdheid huldig verskillende opvattings, met die gevolg dat definisies van geletterdheid uiteenlopend van aard is terwyl raakpunte ten opsigte van die belangrikheid van konteks en inhoud sterk na vore gekom het. Wat dit beteken om geletterd te wees is gegrond op hierdie sienswyse. Die ontdekking van nuwe benaderings tot geletterdheid wat mik na die verbetering van geletterdheidsbeleid en -praktyke vorm die kern van hierdie navorsingsproses. Die "goue draad" wat deur die onderskeie perspektiewe loop, dui op die funksionele rol van geletterdheid en beklemtoon geletterdheid as In funksionele en sosiale praktyk, wat lewenslange leer ten grondslag lê. Onderwysers het In belangrike rol om te speel in die opbou van kapasiteit en toevoeging van waarde tot die burgerskap binne die Suid- Afrikaanse konteks, verder ook in die ondersteuning van leerders om die nodige funksionele en kritiese geletterdheidsvaardighede te ontwikkel om te verseker dat hulle hulself toereikend op 'n gesproke en geskrewe vlak kan uitdruk. Die doel van hierdie studie is om 'n meer uitgebreide beskouing ten opsigte van geletterdheid as 'n lewenslange strewe wat deur gebruik en funksie vasgelê word (op beide gesproke en geskrewe vlakke), daar te stel. Die beduidende verskille tussen die tradisionele en die meer moderne benaderings tot geletterdheidsontwikkeling beklemtoon funksionaliteit en die potensiaal wat dit inhou vir die ontwikkeling van menslike hulpbronontwikkeling. AI hierdie aangeleenthede het implikasies vir geletterdheidsbeleid en -praktyk. Die aanleer van geletterdheidsvaardighede noodsaak dat die volgende aspekte in aanmerking geneem word: dat verskillende geletterheidsvaardigheidvlakke en standaarde moontlik is, dat vakinhoude kan verskil en dat verskeie uitkomstes vir geletterdheid bestaan. Slegs wanneer mense met die nodige persoonlike kennis, vaardighede, houdings en waardes toegerus word - wat hulle in staat sal stelom ingeligte besluite en verantwoordelike keuse te maak, kan volgehoue sosiale transformasie 'n realiteit word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/52996
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