[lg policy] Literacy, Language and Culture

Steve Sharra stevesharra at gmail.com
Wed May 13 22:09:54 UTC 2015

Dear friends and colleagues,

I have a bit of an unusual request. My colleagues and I, in the Department
of Languages and Social Sciences Education in the Faculty of Education,
University of Botswana, are looking for ideas for a textbook of journal

Our students are secondary (high) school teachers who teach English and
Setswana (national language of Botswana), and are upgrading from their
3-year college diploma to a Bachelor of Education degree. Many of them have
taught for many years.

We are looking for textbook, or journal article suggestions, or indeed any
other appropriate readings, for a course titled Literacy, Language and
Culture. The students take the course in their final year before they
return to continue teaching in their respective schools.

Below are more details for the course. We need a text that would work in a
global/international setting, rather than an exclusively US or European
context alone. For the Botswana/Setswana parts of the course, we do have
some journal articles.

Thanks in advance for your help,


Course Aims and Objectives

The aims of this course are:

1.       To examine the history of literacy as a tool for formation,
preservation and transformation of culture.

2.       To examine how notions of literacy filter into our definitions and
understanding of education.

3.       To examine the historical origins and development of literacy and
implications for current educational practices with specific reference to
the teaching of English and Setswana in Botswana.

4.       To develop appropriate definitions of literacy which are inclusive
of a variety of other literacy/literacies excluding reading and writing.

5.       To examine the implications of literacy empowering education.


Given the emerging forms of mediation and tools of representation now
contesting the authority of written language, it is necessary to re-define
definitions of literacy and to begin to incorporate them in teaching and
learning. The course is a basis for developing a capacity for critique of
traditional notions of literacy and education.


The course offers an exploration and critique of stock and non-inclusive
taken for granted definitions and conceptions of literacy. Further, the
course examines the implications of emerging technologies for literacy and

Course Outline

1.       Conceptions of literacy: Functional, Cultural, Progressive and

2.       History of Literacy in Botswana

3.        Factors affecting language and literacy development in Botswana

4.       The opposition of literacy and illiteracy and implications for
education in oral and semi-oral societies

5.       Relationship between language, literacy and culture

6.       Literacy and globalisation

7.       Bilingualism and literacy  development

8.       The impact of technological change on the development of language
and literacy

9.       The Domain of culture in the secondary school Setswana and English

10.   Language and literacy assessment

Blog: http://mlauzi.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @stevesharra
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/stevesharra
Global Voices: http://www.globalvoicesonline.org/author/steve-sharra/
TEDxTalk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-otnO33fMhQ
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