Functional literacy's popularity, that since formulations by UNESCO in the 1940s is based upon the assumption that it is of great practical importance as it enables access to work and economic security. Functional literacy occupies a place at the low extreme of a literacy continuum on which cultural and critical forms of literacy occupy the high extreme. High forms of literacy are associated with high order cognition (abstraction, logical reasoning, simultaneous consideration of several ideas and wisdom beyond knowledge) but significant ideological differences separate cultural literacy and critical literacy (McLaren, 2001). Cultural literacy is a contemporary version of the classical paradigm in that it focusses upon the transmission of mainstream linguistic and cultural knowledge.
Critical literacy is a refinement and extension of the progressive paradigm and is concerned with 'decoding the ideological dimensions of texts, institutions, social practices and cultural forms such as television and film, in order to reveal their selective interests' (McLaren, 2001: p. 213). Within the critical paradigm, attention is given to reading, writing, spelling, grammar, punctuation, speaking, listening, viewing, etc. only in so far as they enable one to use language critically and intentionally to serve one's own purposes.
The term of 'literacy' has been chosen for a number ...Show more