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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Issues for literacy materials development in a monolingual Amazonian culture : the Waodani of Ecuador Kelley, Patricia M.


The purpose of this study was to describe and analyze literacy materials development in the recently written language of the monolingual Waodani in Ecuador's Amazonia. This group of approximately 750 members was characterized by physical and linguistic isolation until the late 1950's. Since that time, many of them have become literate in their own language and are also learning Spanish. (One hundred percent of the people speak Waodani.) The researcher was the developer of the materials used by Waodani instructors and students. This endeavour was not a part of a national mass literacy program. The description and analysis were guided by three questions: 1. What was the context of the materials development? 2. What changes were made in the materials during their development? 3. What questions and issues concerning literacy materials development emerge from an examination of the changes and reasons for changes? The study sketched briefly the cultural context and then examined in detail the various drafts of materials developed from 1972 - 1982. Content, sequence and format changes that occurred in the materials from their early drafts to their present form were examined in terms of the linguistic, pedagogical, cultural and other reasons for those changes. The analysis identified various issues for literacy materials development among small and isolated groups. These issues in the Waodani case concerned the interaction among materials development participants within a cultural context using a particular literacy model. The questions that were raised about the context, model and participants go beyond this case and its language specific materials to literacy development among other small and monolingual groups. Although the study was not intended as prescriptive, its findings and issues may be used by developers of materials in similar settings in order to clarify what is meant by literacy materials development in their particular context.

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