The Literate Arts Are Not Needed: They Are Wanted

2130 words - 9 pages

An illiterate person can be successful and live a productive life, a high school dropout can make a respectable wage, a person with a college education can be underemployed, and many people with doctorates who are unemployed. The literate arts do not guarantee success and money. What the literate arts do offer a person, are tools that make gaining knowledge and wisdom easier, both during and after their formal education. The gaining of this knowledge and wisdom offers other tools that make success easier – whatever success may be. If and how these tools (which are acquired through the literate arts) are used is entirely up to the individual.
Communication is how we exchange information between people. Three major things that the literate arts teach us is how to read, write, and speak – how to communicate. In the essay “The ‘Banking’ Concept of Education,” Paulo Freire says, “only through communication can human life hold meaning” (322). The literate arts are not needed for us to communicate; however, they can make communication easier and more effective. We learn to talk at an early age well before we learn to read and write, but the communication skills of children are less refined. Toddlers will make sentences using the important words while skipping other. They are able to get their point across with sentences like “me hungry.” They use body language, but with their limited communication skills they are not always able to express their feelings and emotions. Toddlers will get frustrated easily because they are not able to express their feelings, even before they know what feelings and frustrations are. The literate arts give us tools that help us to better understand what we are reading. They can teach us to better express ourselves in our writing and speaking; they can help us to communicate better – to be more literate. Being able to communicate effectively with more people feels good and is empowering. In “Arts of the Contact Zone,” Mary Louise Pratt tells the story of her son and how his literacy of baseball allowed him to, “start a conversation with a stranger and feel sure of holding [his] own” (485). In Richard Rodriguez’s essay, “The Achievement of Desire,” he writes how, “reading made [him] a confident speaker and writer” (527). To be able to communicate well with others and get ideas clearly across to them is a satisfying feeling; likewise, to be able to understand their ideas.
Freire and Rodriguez would not agree that the process of education has to be certain way. Freire believes that banking education oppresses the students and to be free of oppression we, “must abandon the educational goal of deposit-making and replace it with” problem-posing education (323). On the other hand, Rodriguez’s father saw that education, even banking, “could enable a person to escape from a life of mere labor” (Rodriguez 522). Rodriguez embraced the deposits of information from his teachers. “Any book they told me to read, I...

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