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Journal of Education and Development in the Caribbean

Language, Literacy and Pedagogy in Postindustrial Societies: The Case of Black Academic Underachievement, by Paul C. Mocombe and Carol Tomlin

Publication Date: 
March 2011

The writers identify the aim of their efforts as seeking to place the discussion of the phenomenon of a gap between the academic underachievement of Whites and Blacks in the context of post-industrial societies. Post-industrialism is set in the post-1970s, defined with reference to a paradigm shift. Whereas the industrial era is characterized by the utilization of various capitals (political, social, financial…originally in the hands of the upper class of owners and high-level executives) as major organizers in human relations, post-industrialized societies were defined by the shift to entertainment, sports, and media-driven elements, etc. as major players. This is in contrast to earlier times with the influence of the Protestant work ethic, the focus on production, etc. with the demand these make for a specific brand of linguistic and literacy competence.
This new position represents a change in the route to success, status, and financial mobility thus offering an alternative to Blacks who are the ones charting this course. The call of this paradigm shift is not measurable by reference to the linguistic or literacy performance criteria on the accustomed standardized tests; rather the shift created an acceptance of linguistic and literacy performance criteria not in focus in the practices and provisions of traditional education.

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