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Title: The children of the book : ideology and pedagogical practices of literacy teaching in the first grade of Israeli primary schools : an ethnographic study
Author: Zailer, Ilana
Awarding Body: Institute of Education (University of London)
Current Institution: UCL Institute of Education (IOE)
Date of Award: 1992
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In this thesis it is argued that, beneath the surface modernity of literacy education in Israel, lie age-old mechanisms that are being used to instil into young readers an unquestioning adherence to the voice of a single cultural text. Children in the modern Israeli State are the latest heirs of an ancient religio-cultural tradition. Throughout its 'longue duree', the Jewish community has sought its identity and striven for continued existence by dedication to ideals of literacy and to a single Text. A review of the whole course of Jewish history which focuses on the role of literacy reveals that this is the case. Close inspection of the approach of the contemporary Israeli State to the teaching of literacy in primary schools shows that these ancient imperatives are still present and active, albeit in transformed ways. The ideology of the Israeli State, embodied in its 'Discourse of Nation-Building' shapes and moves the centralised school-system and its pedagogy. The main themes of the 'discourse' - solidarity, cohesion and defence - lie beneath the apparently neutral surface of standard reading-scheme texts. During the first hours of learning to read in school, the Israeli child is also being invited to set out on the road to being a soldier. An ethnographic study of what actually takes place when literacy is being taught in Israeli first grades establishes that, for the young Israeli, the first encounter with school literacy is a moment in her personal and social life when she is initiated both into the ancient Text and into the modern national/political discourse. The whole process serves the requirements of citizenship, rather than those of becoming a genuine reader.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Curriculum ; Pedagogy and Assessment