Journal Articles (Literacy.org)
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PublicationReview of R.V. Kail, Jr. and J.W. Hagen (Eds.), Perspectives on the Development of Memory and Cognition, and D.G. Bobrow and A. Collins (Eds.), Representation and Understanding: Studies in Cognitive Science(1978) Wagner, Daniel AThe use of narrative and other prose forms as a tool for investigating mental processes is not new. Psychologists such as Jean Piaget and F.C. Bartlett both used stories in research on complex cognitive skills in children and adults. However, with the advent of Ebbinghaus' monumental work on memory using "non-sense syllables," theoretical psychology turned away from the use of meaningful material. With the use of nonsense syllables, researchers hoped to isolate the variables of memory and individual content associations. Recently, there has been a renewal of interest in the study of narrative and memory due to the recognition that narrative taps certain processes that syllables and isolated words do not. In addition, narrative and memory studies have generated interest among those researchers concerned with the applicability of memory studies to educational settings. PublicationOn Being an Adolescent in Zawiya. Review of Susan S. Davis and Douglas A. Davis, Adolescence in a Moroccan Towan: Making Social Sense(1991) Wagner, Daniel A; Puchner, Laurel DianaAlthough adolescence is a well-accepted stage of life in Western society, the issue of whether it exists as a separate life stage in all cultures remains an open and important question. As part of the cross-cultural Harvard Adolescence Project directed by Beatrice and John Whiting, this book is an assessment of traditional concepts of adolescence in Morocco. Based on 11 months of intensive fieldwork, as well as multiple years of work in the same village, the authors used ethnographic observation, interviews, and psychological testing to collect a wide array of data on about 50 families including 150 children in the rural Moroccan town of Zawiya. Recurring themes in the lives of these adolescents, including maturity, self-awareness, gender, hierarchy, and ambivalence, are interwoven into a discussion of the basic social organization of Moroccan life. PublicationLiteracy Campaigns: Past, Present, and Future. Review of Robert F. Arnove and Harvey J. Graff (Eds.), National Literacy Campaigns: Historical and Comparative Aspects; Paulo Freire and Donaldo Macedo, Literacy: Reading the Word and the World; Ali Hamadache and Daniel Martin, Theory and Practice of Literacy Work: Policies, Strategies and Examples(1989-05-01) Wagner, Daniel AThe topic of literacy seems to be returning to the top of the development agenda. Since the 1960s, with UNESCO's Experimental World Literacy Programme (EWLP), there has been a drift away from large-scale literacy programs for development, if not in the minds of Third World educators, then at least in the minds of development planners in major policy-making centers such as the World Bank, UN agencies, and bilateral funding agencies. Perhaps this was due to the problems of EWLP (described in A. Gillette's chapter in Arnove & Graff) or simply to economists' reactions to literacy as a "basic human right," which may have struck policymakers as not sufficiently linked to development outcomes such as economic growth, improved agricultural practices, and so forth. At least part of the resurgence of interest in literacy stems from the realization that illiteracy is not just a Third World problem; attention to and research on illiteracy in North American and Europe have been growing rapidly over the past several years (see L. Limage's chapter in Arnove & Graff).1 The present volumes are primarily focused on the "campaign" and mass education dimensions of literacy. Each volume addresses national and international efforts to achieve greater literacy among adult populations, principally in Third World countries. PublicationTo Read or Not to Read: The Enduring Question of Low Adult Literacy in America(1995-10-25) Wagner, Daniel AIn 1990, America's governors reached a historic consensus on a set of national educational goals as targets for the year 2000. Among these national goals was that " ... every adult American shall be literate." While this goal was widely applauded by those in the literacy community, much more national attention (and nearly 15 times the budgetary resources) has been devoted to the other goals that focus almost exclusively on improving the formal K-12 school system. Now, with the new Adult Education Act, welfare-reform legislation pending in Congress, and renewed debate over the Goals 2000: Educate America Act, the troubling (and enduring) question of low-literate Americans is back in the news. PublicationWhat Happened to Literacy? Historical and Conceptual Perspectives on Literacy in UNESCO(2011-05-01) Wagner, Daniel AFor more than six decades, UNESCO has dedicated itself to be the international agency leader in literacy, even though other aspects of educational development have received greater attention and resources by the broader international community. Resources for UNESCO's literacy work have not increased, and its programmatic activities have been increasingly debated when seen in relationship to the scope of literacy challenges across the globe. Moving forward in a time of restricted budgets will require UNESCO to strengthen itself as a professional innovator and thought leader. PublicationSupporting Home Language Reading through Technology in Rural South Africa(2018-03-01) Castillo, Nathan M; Wagner, Daniel AThis paper describes a short-term longitudinal study in South Africa, with children in grades 1-3, some of whom received a multimedia technology reading support program in one of three home languages and English (through exisiting computer labs in schools). Findings reveal a positive and significant impact on local language reading acquisition among children with multimedia support. The study shows that effective literacy support can help struggling rural learners make significant gains that will help them complete their schooling. The ability to accomplish a full cycle of primary school with fully developed reading skills has significant implications for life-long learning. PublicationReview of S.A. Ashraf, New Horizons in Muslim Education(1987-02-01) Wagner, Daniel ABetween 1977 and 1982, a series of four world conferences on Muslim education were held in various Muslim countries that all dealt with aspects of how contemporary Muslims can maintain Islamic values in the modern educational world. Ashraf was one of the principal organizers of these conferences and contributed a key-note address for each one. The present small volume is a collection of these papers, which range from the general nature of the Islamic education to the development of curricula, new textbooks, and new teaching methods. PublicationLiteracy(2018-01-01) Wagner, Daniel ALiteracy is a complex and dynamic phenomenon that varies across time, language, and geography. The origins of literacy can be traced back thousands of years, initially invented as a tool for communication to be shared amongst only a small portion of 'educated' human society. However, within the past few centuries, many societies have experienced transitions from mostly illiterate to predominantly literate populations through a variety of means involving both formal and informal learning. The present review considers literacy in a global perspective, with short sections that review: the history and definition of literacy; life-span perspectives; and finally some challenges and opportunities for the future. PublicationEl Aprendizaje en la Base de la Pirámide: Restricciones, Comparabilidad y Política en Países en Vías de Desarrollo(2017-01-01) Wagner, Daniel A; Castillo, Nathan MLos objetivos para el desarrollo de las Naciones Unidas han asignado, de manera sostenida, una alta prioridad a la calidad educativa —y a la del aprendizaje. Esto ha llevado a avances sustanciales en ayuda para el desarrollo internacional hacia la educación, y también a una mayor atención, a nivel mundial, a la importancia del aprendizaje de los niños. Sin embargo, tales metas son principalmente normativas: tienden a representar promedios entre naciones, brindando limitada atención a las variaciones dentro de dichos países. La presente investigación proporciona un análisis de las tensiones científicas en la comprensión del aprendizaje en poblaciones pobres y marginadas: aquellos en la base de la pirámide (BdP). Si bien agencias internacionales como UNESCO y OCDE a menudo invocan a estas poblaciones como el “objetivo” de sus inversiones y evaluaciones, continúan los debates importantes sobre la ciencia empírica involucrada tanto en la investigación como en las políticas. El presente análisis concluye que los objetivos para el desarrollo post-2015 de las Naciones Unidas tienen que tomar en cuenta la necesidad critica de enfocarse en el aprendizaje de los pobres a fin de abordar adecuadamente las inequidades sociales y económicas. PublicationMobiles for Literacy in Developing Countries: An Effectiveness Framework(2014-03-01) Wagner, Daniel A; Castillo, Nathan M; Murphy, Katie M; Crofton, Molly; Zahra, Fatima TIn recent years, the advent of low-cost digital and mobile devices has led to a strong expansion of social interventions, including those that try to improve student learning and literacy outcomes. Many of these are focused on improving reading in low-income countries, and particularly among the most disadvantaged. Some of these early efforts have been called successful, but little credible evidence exists for those claims. Drawing on a robust sample of projects in the domain of mobiles for literacy, this article introduces a design solution framework that combines intervention purposes with devices, end users, and local contexts. In combination with a suggested set of purpose-driven methods for monitoring and evaluation, this new framework provides useful parameters for measuring effectiveness in the domain of mobiles for literacy.