Toward dialogic literacy education for the internet age
Literacy Research: Theory, Method, and Practice
Reason for embargo
In order to reconceptualize literacy education for the Internet Age, we first need to understand the extent to which our thinking has already been shaped by literacy practices. I begin this article with an exploration of the relationship between ways of communicating, ways of thinking, and the way in which we understand education. Face-to-face dialogue, for example, means that thought is experienced as somebody’s voice. It is not surprising then that oral cultures tend to understand education as initiation into a living relationship with voices. Literacy, by contrast, especially print literacy, has tended to afford the rather different idea that thought can be dissociated from voices and represented by signs and symbols. Under the regime of print literacy, education has often been understood as first providing access to the collective store of knowledge represented in books and then transmitting this knowledge across generations. Although the Internet preserves some of the affordances of print literacy, it also returns us to some of the affordances of oracy, since it supports two-way participation. In the second half of the article, I outline a possible response to the challenge of the Internet Age. This response is not another “new literacy” but the proposal that we locate literacy education within a larger context, the context of dialogue, not only dialogue with specific others but also with generalized others and ultimately with the Infinite Other.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Sage via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 64, pp. 56 - 72