Functional illiteracy — the scourge of our time

Ninety three million four hundred fifty one thousand one hundred eighty one

© Fredrik Broden

Let's talk about functional illiteracy? Let's start with excerpts from the letter of one of the tenth who had prepared the opinion for the premiere of the film by L. Bunuel “the discreet charm of the bourgeoisie” (1972). That's how it sounded:

"The Director paid a lot of money just for the fact that it us, the audience, explained everything. To us everything was clear, not we ourselves only knew... and how do we understand what the Director had in mind? Maybe he did in mind and did not have, and do you think... Tired. Was very sannicolas»

About functional illiteracy began to think the West is somewhere in the 80-ies of the last century. The problem was that in spite of rampant literacy, people do not umnel, and all worse handled professional responsibilities. Several studies have shown that although people technically know how to read and write, they do not understand the meaning of reading books or manuals, can't write a logically coherent text.

People suffering from functional illiteracy recognize the words but can't decode the language, finding in it an artistic sense, or technical benefit. Therefore, readers and viewers are useless — they prefer the rough and straight pop culture. Some researchers believe that functional illiteracy is even worse than the usual ignorance, because it points to the more profound disruption in the mechanisms thinking, attention and memory. You can take the Nigerian Negro, to educate his scientific wisdom, and he will make a clever man. Because in his head all cognitive and mental processes are adequate.

The emergence of functional illiteracy in the developed Western countries coincided with the first tangible steps of the States in the transition to the information society. Knowledge and talent to quickly navigate in an unfamiliar environment become criteria of social growth of the individual. At MIT (as you may remember, went there himself Gordon Freeman), created schedules market value of an employee depending on the progress on the two scales. The first — routine decision, repetitive actions, play, simple perseverance. And the second is the ability to perform complex operations, with no ready algorithm. If a person is able to find new ways of solving the problem, if he can, based on the disparate data to build a working model, he is functionally literate. Accordingly, functionally illiterate people are adapted only to the work of cashiers and janitors, and under the supervision of the. They are the heuristic activities.

In 1985 the United States has issued a dimension from which it appeared that from 23 to 30 million Americans are completely illiterate in General, and from 35 to 54 million semi-literate their reading skills and the ability to write is much lower than is necessary to "cope with the responsibility of daily life." In 2003, the proportion of U.S. citizens who have the skills of reading and writing was below the minimum was 43%, that is 121 million

In Germany, according to the Senator on education Sandra Sheeres, 7.5 million people (14% of the adult population) can be called illiterate. Only in Berlin such 320.000 people live.

In 2006 the British branch of the Ministry of education reported that 47% of pupils left school at 16 without reaching the basic level in mathematics, and 42% are not able to reach a basic level of English. Each year, the British secondary schools is sent in the lives of 100,000 functionally illiterate graduates.

Laughed damned imperialists? Now laugh at yourself. In 2003, we have schools collecting similar statistics (in my opinion, among 15-year-old). So, that's enough reading skills possessed only 36% of students. Of these, 25% of students are able to perform only tasks of average difficulty, for example, to summarize the information located in different parts of the text, relate the text with their personal experience to understand information given in an implicit form. A high level of reading literacy: the ability to understand complex texts, critically evaluate information, to formulate hypotheses and conclusions showed only 2% of Russian students.

Functional illiteracy, of course, is not formed only in childhood. It can catch and it is an adult who consumed a monotonous routine of existence. Adults and elderly people lose the skills of reading and thinking, if they are not required in their everyday life. We're in the school and University also just pass a million. And let's say chemistry, I do not remember, mathematics is at the very least, about the story without Wikipedia on hand at all ashamed to say. Fortunately, I haven't forgotten how to organize a small simple words in a giant pseudo-scientific texts.

I must admit that we live in a world of functionally illiterate people. I don't want to say that he created them, but in many ways he created for them.However, this is all boring. Let's focus on the study of functional illiteracy in practice, namely, to isolate the main properties and characteristics.

1) Functionally illiterate people avoid challenging tasks, believe in advance in the failure, do not have the motivation to tackle more difficult tasks, repeat the same system error.

2) These people often try to get out any intellectual task, Recalling the cold, on employment, on fatigue.

3) confess that they do not like to read.

4) Ask other people to explain to them the meaning of the text or the algorithm.

5) read Attempts associated with severe frustration and reluctance to do this. When reading rapidly arise psychosomatic problems: can ache eyes, mind, just a desire to be distracted by something more important.

6) Our functionally illiterate when reading often articulate lips or even voice read.

7) have difficulty performing any of the instructions: exercises for shaping, to repair a nuclear reactor.

8) Inability to build and ask questions about reading material. Can not fully participate in the discussions.

9) Very noticeable difference between the witnesses at the hearing and understood from reading.

10) a problem caused by their own lack of understanding, react or learned helplessness, or the collisions on others, as it does not fully understand who is right and who is wrong.

The additional complexity that the skills of reading and writing has a direct relationship with the ability to produce any information content. In fact, responsible for creativity in the network sense of the term.

I must admit that we live in a world of functionally illiterate people. I don't want to say that he created them, but in many ways he created for them. I see it in everything, everything's pristine, a child's simplicity and obsessions. Advertising, Twitter 140 characters, the level of press, level of literature. Try someone to offer a passage from Heidegger, Lacan, or Thomas Mann. To read, much less write large, slender analytical articles can unit as a percentage. I was surprised that this disease was not spared in the field of media: normal writing journalists now the weight of gold and quickly knocked in the number of editors. Just because they have almost no competitors.

Degradation primarily affected all spheres of activity connected with the word. And if earlier the mass differ only in bad taste, but now even that stuff she has to stick the spoon in the form of chewed jelly without hard lumps.

Forty three million two hundred forty four thousand three hundred twenty six

By the way, in the study of Literacy in the Adult Client Population — Jones & Bartlett Publishers cited recommendations on how to write lyrics for functionally illiterate people, that is, practically, for the B2C segment. Right advice on copyright, as most advertising messages are made by these laws. I will share with you:

1) They are much worse perceived abstract and impersonal texts than direct appeals to the spirit of "have YOU volunteered?". It is necessary to compose a targeted message, more peremptory, more personalized. It is believed that this is the most important and effective rule of working with illiterate audiences. You agree, right?

2) use words from everyday vocabulary, preferably not more than 3-4 syllables. Don't need all those long compound words in the manner of the German language. We need to avoid pseudo-scientific words (still they do not understand our discourse), the technical and medical terms. It is desirable to avoid the word, allowing the discrepancy on the semantics and connotations. You can't use adverbs like "soon", "seldom", "often" — because such people it is important to know how soon and how rare.

3) give the Abbreviation "etc." is replaced by normal "and so on," B. N. fields not to write. An introductory word is also necessary to exclude, although, of course, sorry.

4) Split information in the form of beautiful blocks. More paragraphs, no sheets. To decipher the statistics and graphs with numbers, such people usually do not plan in principle.

5) the Proposal must not exceed 20 words. Headings should also be short and succinct.

6) Wanted to spice up your text with synonyms? Horseradish. These readers are the appearance of new words just confuses. And that's what you in the beginning of the text called "machines", should not suddenly become a "car".

7) the Most important information should be presented in the lead article, in the beginning, because there is a risk that even if the reader gets to the end, here's health and the perception he wouldn't be the same.

8) the Text should be diluted in generous spaces, kartinochku, leaders — all for the sake of the reader not scared of the dark wall of continuous text.

9) be Careful with pictures. There should be no decorative elements, illustrations, drawing attention to themselves. Incidentally, in social advertising to that audience are advised not to use, say, photos of pregnant women who smoke or buhih bruises, lying under the bench. Need to show only what you want from the audience.

And if forty years ago, scientists searched for a way to fight functional illiteracy, they are now looking for ways to interact with it. So the diagnosis became public.What are the causes of functional illiteracy? Here scientists disagree, but personally I'm sure this is due to the increased number of information flows that struck the man. The phenomenon of functional illiteracy began to form, roughly, 60-70, at a time when TV was color and massively common. I couple of years ago I read a good study from France in which it was claimed that children from one to three years conducting in front of the TV more than a few hours per day, have lost some cognitive functions.

I asked friends of educators and pediatricians, they say with one voice that the children born after 2000, the polls suffer from ADHD can't study or concentrate, or read. Simultaneously, the rise of social maladjustment. Children are much more comfortable and accustomed to rewrite to each other in the network than to chat live. In Japan has developed a culture of gamers and Hickey, not leaving your own room. We also expect it.

I know it sounds somewhat bizarre that the kids at the same time can not really work with texts and mired in social networks, where the text is built. But better take a look at their messages. The network content is generated by a few enthusiasts, Yes hundreds-of other commercial brands — the rest is solid repost. It does not matter that repost man: lions or post about Baudrillard, it is equal to the degree may indicate functional illiteracy. No wonder that a new generation once called "killing cancer".

Universal literacy has exposed the fact that schooling does not always produce at the output of competent people. However, only the proliferation of new channels of communication, the problem became impossible to ignore. And if forty years ago, scientists searched for a way to fight functional illiteracy, they are now looking for ways to interact with it. So the diagnosis became public.

I blamed the TV, and then computerization, digital media. Radio is also complicated. To hearing the news or "fireside chats" of Roosevelt you have to strain and concentrate. Television was the first source of information that did not require any effort on perception and analysis. A picture narration, action, frequent changes of scenery and not allow to break away, bored.

In those days when the network was created by geeks, the Internet was littered with intelligent lyrics. As popularization of the network it came people far from science, and skilled labor. Now the majority of users need to know how the words, like "porn" or "flashgames" to get what you want. You can instantly switch from horoscopes to news chronicle, chronicle the jokes, and then on youtube or "Funny farm". Almost like flipping channels on TV. When I was growing up, I had to spend some time and effort to entertain yourself. The game is more or less spurred by cognitive impulses.

Why Steve jobs and bill gates took away electronic gadgets from their children? Chris Anderson, supraliminally homemade soup so that they could not work more than a couple of hours in the day, told:

"My kids accuse me and my wife that we are fascists who are too preoccupied with technology. They say none of their friends do not have this limitation in his family. This is because I see the danger of the overuse of Internet like no other. I saw what problems I faced myself, and I don't want these same problems had my children»

But it's the people who, in theory, should worship the new technology in all its forms.

The departments of advertising and media marketing consumers need. And who else can be a better consumer than a functionally illiterate person? Let these people have low income, but they are Legion, but because of low IQ, they are easily manipulated.Let's be honest, until now the society has not developed a specific information culture. On the contrary, it becomes worse from year to year as soon as commercially oriented structures capture information space. The departments of advertising and media marketing consumers need. And who else can be a better consumer than a functionally illiterate person? Let these people have low income, but they are Legion, but because of low IQ, they are easily manipulated. For example, the vast majority of credit to debtors — people who are not able to correctly read the Bank agreement, to estimate the order of payment and calculate your own budget.

Poverty breeds poverty. Including in the intellectual sphere. I often see young parents to get rid of the baby for half an hour, give him a Ouija Board with games. And this in a year or two. Personally I started playing and hanging out in front of the TV at the age of five or six, but by that time my mind was already formed methods of information protection. I was able to ethylcarbamate advertising junk and critical to any images on the screen. I could concentrate on reading one book for long hours. And early access bringing pleasure and relaxation information flow leads to rapid degradation and atrophy of the synthetic functions of thinking.

You probably noticed that the world's growing inequality between rich and poor. So, in a short time in 10% of people will not only 90% of the wealth, but 90% of the intellectual potential. The gap is widening. Some people are becoming smarter, more agile all operate on infinite streams of information, while others turn into dumb and secretionary cattle. And absolutely on their own. Even no one to complain to. The obvious connection between poverty and functional illiteracy there. Much more important is the influence and education of parents. As well as the presence of functional literacy for them.

Remember the old days Lunacharskogo? He may have discovered the best recipe against any kind of illiteracy. In a meeting workman asked Anatoly Vasilyevich:

— Comrade Lunacharsky, here you are so smart. Well this is how institutions have to do to become so?

-Only three, — he said — One must finish your grandfather, the second is your father, third — you.  published 

Author: Daria Sokolova

P. S. And remember, just changing your mind — together we change the world! ©



See also

New and interesting