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Young People With Low Level Literacy Skills in The School and Post-School Environment.

MacRae, Vera. (1999) Young People With Low Level Literacy Skills in The School and Post-School Environment. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

This research is focused on groups of young people considered to lack proficiency in literacy skills. A major aim has been to assess how this lack of competence in reading and writing, which I have called the ‘traditional’ literacy skills, affects both their school years and their routes to employment. Another central aim has been to investigate ways in which the new literacies, in addition to the ‘traditional literacies’, have been used to aid their learning. The research began when the ‘main group’ of young people were aged eleven and about to transfer to secondary school. Subsequently, at fourteen, they completed a questionnaire and, several years later, between the ages of eighteen and nineteen, they were interviewed in depth. A second group of young people, the ‘Year 9’ group, was interviewed during the period of ‘option’ choices in order to compare and contrast their views with those of the main group. Part I includes a consideration of the role of education in our changing society. The discussion centres on the extent to which the National Curriculum and training offered in the post school environment equips young people, specifically those who lack competence in the ‘traditional’ literacy skills, for a future that may involve a degree of risk. Part II contains an explanation of the methodology used in the study and a discussion of the concept of literacy in today’s society. In Part III the data obtained from the young people including their views of their school life and their experiences after school, are discussed and emergent themes are identified. Finally, in Part IV, the discussion moves from the particular back to general concerns as the themes become integrated into theories. The study has identified an over reliance by the school system on the skills of traditional literacy; the written word is used as the central method for learning and teaching and for assessment purposes in the school and post school environment. This works to the detriment of those young people who lack proficiency in reading and writing skills but who have other skills, abilities and ‘intelligences’. Consequently I have redefined the term ‘traditional’ literacy as ‘school’ literacy because the system largely ignores the crucial importance of other literacies, including technologies and other social literacies in everyday usage. These, if taught, could provide alternative pathways towards focused individual life-long learning. At present ‘school’ literacy acts as a divisive instrument in the school system; in some young people this creates as sense of powerlessness so they feel that they have little control over their own futures and are conditioned to accept their low status roles ‘Key’ skills, like literacy at present, are defined narrowly, and place reading and writing skills as a central aspect of curricula. As I have demonstrated ‘key’ skills could, by a wider definition and application unlock the learning door into the twenty first century.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors : MacRae, Vera.
Date : 1999
Additional Information : Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Surrey (United Kingdom), 1999.
Depositing User : EPrints Services
Date Deposited : 06 May 2020 13:07
Last Modified : 06 May 2020 13:08
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/855868

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