This study investigates literacy practices and events, including orality and storytelling, within the social and cultural context of a rural village in Rwanda, referred to as Agace. The study employs ethnographic principles and methods to explore participants’ experiences and perspectives related to literacy practices in the local public school and homes within the village, and how multiple literacies, specifically orality and storytelling, influence school and community practices. The theoretical framework for this study considers The New Literacy Studies (NLS) theory of literacy as a social practice (Barton & Hamilton, 1998; Collins & Blot, 2003; Heath, 1983; Street, 1984/1995), research on the plurality of literacies (Gee, 1996; Street 1995), conceptions of illiteracy and deficit discourse theories on literacy (Freire & Macedo, 1987; Giroux 1987), and orality and oral literature in Africa (Finnegan, 1988; Ong, 1982; Street, 1995). There is limited qualitative research that seeks to understand literacy practices in rural Africa, and other non-Western, non-urban contexts. Furthermore, though a deficit orientation is commonly applied to research in African communities, this study conversely employs an asset-based orientation (Scribner & Cole, 1973; Green & Haines, 2008), intentionally emphasizing strengths, resources, and capacities of literacy practices and orality. For these reasons, this study utilizes ethnographic, participatory methodologies to directly engage with the local community to explore the plurality of literacy practices and perspectives, including the ways in which people engage with diverse practices that are rooted in oral and other non-technical forms of literacy that are commonly overlooked.
This study details the connections and disconnections, including curricula, pedagogical practices, and teacher-parent relationships, between the school and home specifically centralizing language, literacy, and culture. Though reading and writing literacies are central at the local public school, orality and storytelling are the dominant literacies practiced in homes and elsewhere outside the school environment. The findings of this study demonstrate the value of considering multiple literacies beyond the dominant functionality and technicality of reading and writing. The study concludes with implications for further research on studying the plurality of literacies in community context and developing culturally sustaining pedagogies (Paris, 2012) that are inclusive of community-based literacies.
|Advisor:||Strong, Krystal S.|
|Commitee:||Campano, Gerald, Ravitch, Sharon M.|
|School:||University of Pennsylvania|
|School Location:||United States -- Pennsylvania|
|Source:||DAI-A 81/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Education, Social research, African Studies|
|Keywords:||Literacy practices, Multiple literacies, Orality and storytelling, Participatory action research, Pedagogical practices, Rwanda|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be