Sunday, October 31, 2004

Pilipinos do not read!? makes me want to ask: But what is it that Pilipinos DO read? The reason why this comes to mind is because we often associate reading with the written word and reading literature specifically;but it can also mean the ability to "read the world" as most illiterate peasants know how to do as demonstrated by Paulo Freire. "Those who can't read the word already understand the world."

I guess the reason why I am on to this is because I am reading Derrick Jensen's A Language Older than Words which is about interspecies communication. Jeannette Armstrong, a Native American educator and friend of the author tells him: When native peoples talk about listening to Nature, it is not a metaphor. It is literal. We have been trying to teach the white people this for 500 years.

So here I am again talking about indigenous consciousness and what we civilized folks have forgotten how to do: how to read the world apart from the literate word we have been taught to believe as the ultimate source of meaning. Therefore, what does it mean that Pilipinos do not read? or What is it that they do "read" quite well and a lot of?

I know that Barb's context is literature and I do not mean to be contrarian here; I'm only following the trajectory of my thoughts with regards to the concept of "reading." HAving said that, of course, I wish we, as a community, will develop as a reading community of OUR OWN literature...and most importantly, literature that is written to help us develop an oppositional consciousness, for which Audre Lorde is famous for! (I hope you win, Barb!).

Back to reading: before the written word, there is this. Before the alphabet and vowels were invented, there was this form of writing in much older civilizations. I, too, would weep with the weeping god, seeing how the alphabetization of the world has wrought some wonders as well as some horrific ideas that became horrific actions.

On another note, we are being encouraged by our new Provost to read about the the national report of the American Association of COlleges and Universities on how to tune-up higher education for the 21st century. I told him at a recent luncheon about what I am doing in my classroom (transformative pedagogy) and how I want students to develop a global consciousness that favors ecological sustainability and cultural diversity.

But first, students must learn how to read, no?

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