Defying the Odds: Class and the Pursuit of Higher Literacy by Donna Dunbar-Odom

By Donna Dunbar-Odom

Examines why a few working-class scholars pursue larger literacy whereas others don't.

“For me, literacy is … like attempting to open a locked door with the inaccurate key … I don’t continually see the that means at the start and customarily i need to have a person … enable me in with their key. I are likely to imagine that being in university is adequate, however it nonetheless isn’t going to assure larger literacy for me. it's whatever i'm attempting to seize, yet i'm going approximately it slowly, just because i'm really not so certain of ways importantit is to me.” — Rachel

According to key literacy examine, working-class scholars are a long way much less prone to pursue greater literacy than their middle-class opposite numbers, but there are numerous examples of these who've defied the chances. during this considerate examine why a few determinedly pursue greater literacy opposed to all expectancies and predictions, Donna Dunbar-Odom explores the advanced relationships humans have with literacy, paying specific recognition to the connection among literacy and sophistication. She stocks the private and infrequently poignant literacy narratives of writers, lecturers, and her personal scholars to bare greatly approximately what motivates hope for larger literacy, in addition to what will get within the manner. Bringing jointly those reflections with present literacy, composition, and sophistication theories, Dunbar-Odom presents a greater knowing of the way to faucet that wish in writing school rooms. finally, the writer argues that academics have to concentration much less recognition on how scholars should still learn and extra on why they may wish to.

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He connects people’s fears, hopes and literate aspirations to their homes and neighborhoods. (112) A hallmark of Rose’s scholarship is certainly his efforts to treat his students and their stories with respect, and another is his determination to find the logic in their reading and writing. Glynda Hull and Rose’s Braddock Award– winning article “That Wooden Shack Place,” for example, demonstrates the logic behind a student’s seemingly aberrant reading of a poem. By means of an extended one-on-one discussion with the student, Rose is able to understand that the student’s reasoning is perfectly accurate; the “problem” is that the student does not share the same cultural background as the poet or the teacher.

Lives on the Boundary concerns language and human connection, literacy and culture, and it focuses on those who have trouble reading and writing in the schools and the workplace. It is a book about the abilities hidden by class and cultural barriers. And it is a book about movement: about what happens as people who have failed begin to participate in the educational system that has seemed so harsh and distant to them. (ix) Mike Rose is a believer in the potential of students, teachers, and schools to succeed.

However, even many teachers are blithely unaware of this conflict as they assume, much like Collins and Blot see Rose doing, that the appropriation of Standard American English and a move to the middle class can only be perceived as positive and desirable. Unlike Rose, however, Rodriguez describes himself as “[a]n enchantedly happy child” (4). He continues, “Mine was a childhood of intense family closeness. And extreme public alienation” (4). Rodriguez cites education as that which “altered” his life and “carried [him] far” (5).

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