Transitional-Literacy.Org is a non-profit corporation intended to serve the English language/literacy learning needs of a wide range of learners and surrounding communities. This non-profit’s main purposes are to serve as a web resource and develop a permanent literacy, language, and digital-media teaching and research center with the goal of serving populations who may not have equal and quality access to 21st Century educational resources. These populations include international and domestic students who need high levels of academic English to succeed and whose first languages are other than English (e.g. Spanish, Cherokee, Navajo, Hani, Akha, Crow, Mandarin, Japanese, Vietnamese, French, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Arabic), and those with English as their first language who have non-standard literacy foundations due to a variety of reasons (e.g. lack of infrastructure; geographic isolation). Transitional-Literacy.Org supports interdisciplinary approaches to assist literacy/language learners in transitioning from their primary literacy backgrounds to what is perceived as the more standard day-to-day English languages and sign systems of the Academic/Professional Disciplines and the Applied Technologies. As part of our overall literacy and language work, and efforts to move digital technology resources and theories of language acquisition across cultural, educational, and linguistic boundaries, Transitional-Literacy.Org supports bilingual education and indigenous language preservation, and much of our digital-technology methods, theories, and resources are intended for adaptation to these related endeavors.
Transitional-Literacy.Org is dedicated to the idea that learners, and in fact, all of humanity, read the world and author their lives (quoted and paraphrased from Paolo Freire and Mikhail Bakhtin) with very real-world consequences from the languages they learn, live, and breath every day. A major part of this activity with languages is recognizing the profound literacy-based transitions that occur every moment of our lives as we move from reading a stoplight to reading a chemistry lab report, to reading the moods of the people around us; then we respond by creating language in a continual back and forth, a collaborative imitative process (Bakhtin; Tomasello). This shared cognitive-communicative process shapes and shades meaning (see Tomasello and the terms shared-attentional scenes and the uniquely human evolutionary development of intention-reading ; see the research on mirror neurons; see also the work on the utterance from Bakhtin).
Each specific situation in which a reading of the world takes place involves a different type of sign-system, or a synthesis of old systems with new systems, and ways to use a specific sign system for work in sociocultural situations. In other words, we use specific languages and sub-dialects, and all kinds of interrelated strategies, to organize this cacophony of signs to reach goals and to make things happen (Davydov; Kozulin; van Lier). These sign systems include algebraic formulas; accounting formulas; the languages of customer service agents; the languages of police officers; the languages of carpenters; the languages of fishermen; the languages of soldiers, sailors, and marines; the languages of gang members; the languages of academics and all their sub-dialects; the languages of poker players; the languages of fraternity and sorority members; the languages of pilots and air traffic controllers; the languages of real estate agents and mortgage brokers; the languages of plumbers; the languages of IT professionals; the languages of parents; the languages of fantasy-football players; the languages of physicists; the languages of Christians, Muslims, and Buddhists; the list is endless. The point is that we transition from one reading and writing context to another as part of living in the world; this is not a particularly new idea. However, many of these ideas call for a necessary transformation of our 20th Century perceptions and attitudes about language, literacy, and what language proficiency and literacy means in the 21st Century (Beach; Kress).
Transitional-Literacy.Org is dedicated to researching and supporting this multiple-literacy, interdisciplinary perspective, with the ultimate goal of finding effective ways to support learners with reading the world and authoring their lives.
Bakhtin, M. (1986). Speech genres and other late essays. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Beach, R. (2012). Constructing digital learning commons in the literacy classroom. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 55 (5) (248-451) .
Davydov, V. (1999). The content and unsolved problems of activity theory. In Y. Engestrom, R. Miettinen, and R. L. Punamaki (Eds.), Perspectives on activity theory (pp. 39-52). N.Y.: Cambridge University Press.
Friere, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: The Continuous International Publishing Group Inc.
Kress, G. (2003). Literacy in the new media age. N.Y. Routledge.
Kozulin, A. (1998). Psychological tools: A sociocultural approach to education. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.
Peirce. C. S. (1991). Peirce on Signs: Writings on Semiotic by Charles Sanders Peirce. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press
Pineda, J. (2009) Mirror neuron systems: The role of mirroring processes in social cognition New York: Humana Press.
Tomasello, M. (1999). The cultural origins of human cognition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Tomasello, M. (2003). Constructing a language: A usage-based theory of language acquisition. Cambridge, MA: Harbard University Press.
van Lier, L. (2004). The ecology and semiotics of language learning: A sociocultural perspective. Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers