Dr. Thomas Cornell is Interim Dean for the School of Education at Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri, USA. He is a member of the International Literacy Association, American Educational Research Association, and the Literacy Research Association. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Books for STL Kids.
Integrating the Context of Culture to Promote Literacy Development
This paper will focus on how cultural beliefs can impact literacy development. Imbedding an understanding of the context of cultural beliefs is critical for promoting literacy development. Utilizing an understanding of the cultural context will help any agency or organization to develop a plan for intergenerational literacy growth
This paper will present how specific cultural beliefs impact literacy development. UNESCO defines literacy as the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. This type of literacy as defined by UNESCO allows individuals to participate in their community and also improve their standard of living and quality of life. In 2015, the United Nations endorsed a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and set goals for for achieving them by 2030. How will we reach those goals and specifically around the issue of literacy? And, how do cultural beliefs prevent various segments of the world-wide population from developing their literacy skills? And more importantly, how do we develop systems that allow individuals within cultural belief systems that work against literacy development, to begin to make a change? This session will provide a matrix that proposes some practices that must be met in order to reach higher levels of literacy around the world. It will also examine how the cycle of certain cultural beliefs can be incrementally altered so that future generations promote even higher levels of literacy.