Archive | February, 2013

X Collective

17 Feb

perspectivesoflitblogpic The X Collective is a group of five interested in expanding literacy in the Bronx.  The X is short for the Bronx, but also for the traditional symbol left by the illiterate.  Arismendy Feliz is the leader of the group as he began this quest for literacy running reading workshops for parents (mostly immigrants) at a struggling middle school in South Bronx.   Recently, the team has been using art to showcase the problems the “borough” is facing, one of them being literacy.  They have opened a show that is running through the end of February called “New Word Order” consisting of 26 pieces for the 26 letters of the alphabet.  The piece you see to the left is the depiction of the letter Y.  It also illustrates its title “Why Must I Be Here” with its angry red lines and stress shown in the image.  The group plans to stir up conversation about what makes the Bronx uncomfortable (their issues) and remain advocates for literacy.

This article is specifically addressing an adult audience.  Some people may be nervous or embarassed to attend reading workshops or classes.   Why not create an environment with virtually no pressure? It also offers familiarity.  If you haven’t been reading and writing all of your life, or reading and writing the English language, then you have probably been associating words and meanings with images.  When I was first learning the alphabet, i didn’t remember the letter A because it was simply the letter A.  I remembered it because it was the first letter in apple and I could picture an apple and associate it with the letter A.   That’s what this show is doing.   It’s using the visual to understand the meaning of the abstract.  I think what these men are doing for literacy is admirable.   Like I mentioned in previous posts, teaching literacy creatively can really draw and hold attention and it is worth trying.


Financial Literacy

8 Feb

Melissa Jenco’s article “Computer program aimed at teaching teens about financial game of life” discusses an expansion of financial literacy in high schools in Illinois. Subjects such as credit cards, mortgages, and tax returns are incorporated into an interactive computer game. “A foundatoin and a technology company are partnering to cover the costs of providing the financial literacy program ot public high schools and recently launched the initiative at Metea Valley High School in Aurora,” Jenco states. Jenco also mentions a study that discovered 84% of college graduates regret not receiving more financial literacy education in high school. This program is innovative including social networking, animation, and gaming to place students in financial scenarios that they must learn to work through and are tested over at the end of each module. Students that attempted the program claimed it was a good resource and will help to prevent financial setbacks in the future.

At my high school, I was not required to take a personal finance class. I was sure that it would be boring and I still am very ignorant of the subject. Providing a fun, interesting game to study financial literacy will hopefully create an incentive for a desire to learn and maybe even help students remember the material. Personally, interactive learning helps me remember what I’m studying and I like participating in it. Rarely are financial concepts such as these taught in classrooms, especially in high school, but the recession is calling for this teaching. I think that the economy needs a strong middle class and we will take that position. Not knowing how to handle our finances, such as college debt, will reduce the chances of a weak middle class. Learning these things as a teenager will help when money becomes a huge part of your decisions, especially educational decisions (like where to go to college). I know some people who still do not know how to deposit money in a bank or write a check. Even the most simple financial skills and literacy should be taught and doing it in an enjoyable way is key. I agree that financial literacy should show up more in the high school curriculum!

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