Reconceptualizing the Literacies in Adolescents' Lives: Bridging the Everyday/Academic Divide

By Donna E. Alvermann; Kathleen A. Hinchman | Go to book overview

13
TOUCHSTONE CHAPTER
ADOLESCENTS’ MULTIPLE
IDENTITIES AND TEACHER
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Alfred W. Tatum

On one point, therefore, there can be no question — no hesitation: unless we
develop our full capabilities, we cannot survive. If [black men] are to be trained
grudgingly and suspiciously; trained not with reference to what we can be, but
with sole reference to what somebody wants us to be; if instead of following the
methods pointed out by the accumulated wisdom of the world for the develop-
ment of full human power, we simply are trying to follow the line of least resist-
ance and teach black men only such things and by such methods as are
momentarily popular, then my fellow teachers, we are going to fail ignomini-
ously in our attempt to raise the black race to its full humanity and with that
failure falls the fairest and fullest dream of a great united humanity.

(Du Bois, 2001, p. 26)

Once I had read enough, learned enough to identify that process, I then had to
reconstruct myself as a decent and worthy child of God, painfully peeling away
the layers of filth that covered me. This deniggerization, this de-savaging of my
soul, began with Shakespeare; it continued in my voracious exploration of lit-
erature. Authors as disparate as Mark Twain and W. E. B. Du Bois, Carter G.
Woodson and Victor Hugo, Malcolm X and Maya Angelou challenged me,
inspired me, and taught me endless lessons. Through them I have found the soul
I had thought forever lost.

(Upchurch, 1996, p. xii)

These two quotes suggest that literacy development extends beyond cognitive domains that focus on learning how to read text, that is, “educational texts, visual, printed and electronically mediated, [which] typically seem and claim to speak in one voice, for all possible perspectives and with competence and comprehensiveness” (Freebody, 2003, p. 180). Du Bois (2001) suggested that the

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