Essay about Literate or Culturally Literate

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To be successful in the world today literacy is vital. But what is the definition of Literacy? According to Merriam Webster it is “the quality or state of being literate”, but can it also be expanded and redefined as Culturally Literate “the ability to understand and appreciate the similarities and differences in the customs, values, and beliefs of one’s own culture the cultures of others? This essay will utilize the writings of Fishman, Mary Ann Zehr, and Jean Piaget to compare the definition of literacy by mainstream society to that of the Amish culture. Literacy by mainstream society standards includes having the freedom to choose what to read and write, and the use of critical thinking to evaluate what has been read. But it can …show more content…
These are but a few examples of what it means to be culturally literate in the Amish culture. Just as mainstream society educates their children to strive for success through literacy and education, the Amish society strives for these same successes with different ideas on what it means to be literate, and how to educate their children.
The education of students or “scholars” as they are called in the Amish culture is as different as the cultures itself. A mainstream child’s education begins as early as age 4 when they begin preschool. From this point forward the child is encouraged from an early age to be independent, to be a leader, and to strive for individuality. They can expect a full curriculum of reading, writing, math, history, and the sciences. They are also given a host of electives to enhance their education, which is believed to create a well rounded individual; all the while they are encouraged to question everything. How many times is a mainstream child told, “No question is a dumb question”? Mainstream education encourages a child to listen to their teachers, form an opinion, and voice that opinion. According to author Jean Piaget “The principle goal of education in the schools should be creating men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done; men and women

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