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Rural Voices Winding through the Andes Mountains: A Collective Creative Literacy Research Project

by Contreras, Gerardo

Abstract (Summary)
This dissertation was a collective creative literacy research study of a rural community in the Western part of the Venezuelan Andes. First, this study aimed at portraying the meanings attached to some forms of “vernacular literacy” (Barton and Hamilton, 1998) embedded in people’s everyday lives in the community of St. Isidro and in the learning of St. Isidro children in a nearby school. Second, a literacy workshop project was developed for a group of sixth graders to fuse both community and school related literacy practices. This dissertation followed a qualitative approach (Denzin and Lincoln, 2005) and made use of ethnographic and image-based research methods. To document people’s uses and meanings of literacy, the study relied on the following data collection methods: participant observation, informal interviews, field notes, research journal, visual methods, personal narrative, interpretation of documents and other cultural artifacts. This study offers several insights regarding: (1) the connections between people’s religious devotional practices in the community of St. Isidro and popular literacy forms, (2) the study of three generations to document literacy over time under a new kind of research method for studying literacy, one that embraces a multilayering of the visual and textual to offer what Garrett-Petts (2000) calls “rich perceptual experiences” as a methodological pathway to literacy studies, (3) the use of stories as a powerful tool to connect home and school literacy learning and development, and (4) the role women play to support their children’s literacy learning and education in the community of St. Isidro despite the women’s very limited literacy skills and the lack of family literacy preparation programs sponsored by educational or governmental institutions. Finally, the ideas of collective and creative for the title of this dissertation come from Enrique Buenaventura (1985), a very well known dramatist, poet, and painter from Colombia, who contributed a new approach for the production of plays. Buenaventura coined the term “Creación Colectiva” for his approach. It adds the notion of creative because it offers the idea that a research project is an artistic endeavor that needs to be enriched by the field of arts and literature.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Indiana University of Pennsylvania

School Location:USA - Pennsylvania

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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Date of Publication:08/08/2007

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