Act Of Obtaining Knowledge Through Different Resources

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Literacy is an act of obtaining knowledge through different sources, contexts, practices, and experiences and applying them in a day to day life to accomplish tasks.

Verbal communications, reading, and writing are considered to be the basic approaches of acquiring literacy, although more emphasis has been given on writing due to the fact that it helps to trace it back to the origins and histories of literacy- “one distinction between linguistics of writing and linguistics of speech is that in the case of the former we can delve far enough back into the past to come close to the beginnings of the phenomenon” (Sampson 46). Besides being a systematization of speech, writing is also based on the development of signs and symbols. From the very beginning, humans have communicated by signs which are subcategories of symbols. Symbols have special meanings which help in expressing and communicating ideas. Various information has been acquired of symbols used in the Middle Paleolithic Period, Upper Paleolithic Period, Mesolithic and Neolithic period. The use of symbols, the development in their meanings, the social and cultural contexts which aid in evolving new processes of symbolization expose characteristics congruent with the present developments of written communication. The earliest Sumerian inscriptions and clay tokens are often considered to be the first examples of writing which has later developed in pencils, pens, and today computers.

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Unlike earlier theorists, present-day theorists and their papers “represent the relationship between literacy and orality as a “continuum rather than…as a “divide” (Street, The New Literacy Studies 431). The earlier “Autonomous” Model of Literacy considered writing to be an autonomous mode of communication. The model depends on Western practices of literacy rooted in and represents a culturally specific model. School-based concepts of literacy are held as a benchmark definition of literate proficiency across backgrounds by this model. Street argues in The New Literacy Studies that the ideology and social control of the teacher’s class suppresses the students in this model. Positioning students as subjugated learners prevents the critical analysis of their social and political context. The Ideological Model of Literacy conceptualizes literacy as a crucial social practice that makes specific principal hypotheses and power relations integral in concepts of literacy as social procedure. Thus, literacy acquires substance as well as locates writing and reading in the linguistic and social practices that give them connotation. The ideological model of literacy accentuates the portrayal of people’s lives grounded on ethnography and the methods in which macro-political and social methods are represented in the daily lives of people. Street also claims that concepts of the “great divide” between orality and literacy trigger deflection in concentration from real intentions of literacy in the direct lives of local peoples.

The New Literacy Studies involves social literacies, referring to a “body of work that…has approached the study of literacy not as an issue of measurement or of skills but as social practices that vary from one context to another” (Street 21), academic Literacies referring to the “area of student writing and faculty feedback in the university…also to consider what this tells us more broadly about discourse, identity and power in the academy” (Street 25). With the rapid development of technology, it has now become necessary to consider multimodality or new modes of communication like computers, mobile phones, and so on into the definitions of literacy. Technology and digitalization as an important path towards literacy, a path to gaining knowledge- “Global developments in technology are actually having the effect of extending and diversifying…literacy and language practices.” (Cruickshank 470). 


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