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Caribbean Journal of Education

Makin' Mas with Literacy Teaching Trinidad and Tobago in the Information Age

Publication Date: 
April 1998

... there is now, in the new international order of the globalized (information) economy, a gap to be bridged by a dialogue founded on realism and...on solidarity, without which the populations of the Fourth World, at least, will continue to suffer in poverty and oblivion. 
F. H. Cordoso, North-South Relations in the Present Context 
"Makin' mas" may refer to the activities of Carnival, the masquerade (and in Trinidad the preparations for Carnival that go on for weeks, sometimes months before the actual Carnival). In a more pejorative sense, however, makin' mas refers to "making something look stupid, silly, contemptible; [by extension) to play havoc with...." (Allsopp 1996). 
This article considers the carnival qualities that Trinidad and Tobago can offer to the dialogue on the “information economy" and literacy teaching. It refers to Gunther Kress's (1995) agenda for the future of English teaching, in relation to Fernando Henrique Cordoso's (1993, 155) notion that the information economy "has reached the whole of the planet", but fragmented the Third World, and forced much of the South into a new kind of dependency. It looks particularly at how these global changes affect notions of literacy and the teaching of literacy in Trinidad and Tobago, concluding that (a) Trinbago can offer its pluricultur alism and Carnival arts to the dialogue; (b) some teaching approaches are preferable for preparing our students to meet the information age; (c) only a strong local culture can interact with other cultures through technology.

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