Monday, 19 September 2011

Cultural Literacy Profile

Cultural Literacy Profile

The transformation of the physical home is happening all around us as more people are working from home and a predicted 50% of workers in the UK will be working from home by 2020. To accommodate this growing trend we have seen the creation home offices, garage conversions, office gardens as the home space is now having to cope with multiple uses. Such multiple usage is very much in keeping with traditional local economies and which was based on the ‘compound family (consanguity) that saw the extended family work as a unit to support all family members. Industrialised society of course favoured the nuclear family (conjugality) where the economy was outside of the home and a single income became the norm. However, in order for the compound family to survive there had to be an education system within the home that did not simply pass on academic and vocational skills but passed on the skills with regard to the acquisition of power, the maintenance of power and the transference of power to the next generation. This essentially was the cultural literacy within the home that was the foundation of the education system embedded within the family and therefore allowed the compound family to expand both vertically and horizontally through blood ties. This is in effect intergenerational learning.

A brief review of this cultural literacy can be achieved in the cultural literacy profile below which will allow the reader to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their home and can determine how successful they and their children will be.


1.    Have you consistently taught your child about their cultural heritage?

Yes
No
2.      Have you made your child aware of the cultural practices and examples within your ethnic group that creates wealth e.g., susu and Black Wall Street?
Yes
No
3.    Have you explained to your child your family lineage (at least four generations back) and the sacrifices they had to make for the current generation to have the opportunities they have today?
Yes
No
4.    Do you watch films (or engage with other media ) that promotes positive cultural literacy like Kirikou, Akilah and the Bee, Rue Cases Negres and Black Wall Street?
Yes
No
5.    Do you regularly purchase art from your community and support various artists who celebrate your cultural group?
Yes
No
6.    Have you, or do you intend to organise work experience opportunities for your children which will give them experience of business and develop their financial literacy?
Yes
No
7.    Have you studied good practice within other ethnic groups to gain a further understanding of how power is obtained, protected and transferred to the next generation?
Yes
No
8.    Have you established a home business that you will one day pass onto your child or use to help in their education of financial literacy?
Yes
No
9.    Do you belong to any strategic group whose main focus is to develop their community?
Yes
No



By approaching family development from the perspective of cultural literacy will mean that we do not simply engage in a Eurocentric approach of talking about relationships but delve deeper into what it is to be human and the various societal institutions needed to enhance, develop and celebrate this humanness. This is the function of education which comes fromt he word educare (Latin) meaning to draw out. For this to happen the child, the family must have a team of educators that they can access for the home needs to generate multiple incomes which comes from multiple skills and this requires multiple teachers. This approach to education can only be achieved from a network of family compounds and its multitudes of skills, knowledge systems and enterprise ventures. This can only be achieved by routine good practice which we call ritual or cultural literacy. Sadly, African-Caribbean leaders look to the UK and America for models of academic excellence but in a recent OECD study (2010) Britain has fallen dramatically. The table below clearly shows that the models of excellence used by the Chinese as one of cultural literacy is not being used by the British or American educators.

UK (out of 34 countries)                                                       USA (out of 34 countries)

Mathematics
Fallen from 8th to 28th
Ranked 25th
Reading
Fallen from 7th to 25th
Ranked 14th
Science
Fallen from 4th to 16th
Ranked 17th



So the evidence seems to be saying that high educational performance is a result of embedded cultural literacy in the home, community and school, but most of all in the mind. The continuous reviews of education policy has done nothing to stop the UK and the USA from sliding down the international education league tables as the above figures indicate and the Chinese model, which is really the African model for apprentiships, universities (Sankore) homeschooling, community libraries (medieval Mali), artists ( Ife and Benin) and community education was what strengthened the traditional family and allowed the family to be multi-skilled and thereby have multiple incomes, supported by networks of teachers and community educators. To rebuild African communities around the world the family has to be rebuilt and to achieve this, the multilayered education system has to be re-established. When we say teacher we do not simply mean someone in the school, but someone also in the community; the parent-teacher has to be reintroduced; the community-teacher has to be reintroduced but to achieve this there can only be one empowering curriculum totally immersed in the cultural literacy of the next generation.

I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear.

Rosa Parks
‘Mother’ of the civil rights movement.

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