Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cultural and Cross Cultural Literacy

Reference: Mkandaŵile Sitwe Benson (2010) Branches and Levels of Literacy Analysis – Extracted from the Paper presented at the Linguistics Association of Southern African Universities (LASU) in Zambia, hosted by the University of Zambia.

Cultural and Cross Cultural Literacy is a branch of literacy that look at an individual’s ability to understand and appreciate the similarities and differences in the customs, values, and beliefs of one’s own culture and the cultures of others. There is no culture that can live, if it attempts to be exclusive in its own. This emphasizes on the importance of cultural literacy in its varying degrees in the global world. Therefore, as citizens of the global world, it is particularly important that all nations be sensitive to the role that culture plays in the behaviors, beliefs, and values of themselves and others, (Mkandaŵile, 2011). Understanding other cultures has two notable benefits: It multiplies our access to practices, ideas, and people that can make positive contributions to our own society; and secondly, it helps us understand ourselves more deeply. By understanding a range of alternatives, we become aware of our own implicit beliefs – beliefs so deeply imbedded that we routinely take them for granted (Stigler, Gallimore and Hiebert, 2000).
“Cultural literacy is applied in a variety of ways. For instance, with regard to text analysis, what a text means depends on what readers bring to the text and what they bring will depend on the background, training, values, traditions, beliefs and norms they have experienced. It also extends beyond text to mean understanding the cultural context and practices an individual is found in”, (Mkandaŵile, 2011).

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