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Literacy, Culture and Identity


Jill Sinclair Bell

In Literacy, Culture and Identity, Canadian literacy educator and researcher Jill Sinclair Bell uses narrative inquiry to argue that literacy should be understood as an individual construct growing out of personal experiences shaped by societal attitudes. Through her innovative autobiographical study of an attempt to become literate in Chinese, Dr. Bell makes evident the conflicting stories of literacy held by members of different cultures. The difficulties encountered and the resulting challenge to the image of self highlight the degree to which identity is bound up in literacy and learning practices. Given the multicultural nature of education in North America today, this individually and culturally based notion of literacy has profound implications for our understanding of the teaching and learning situation.