Free association: Education and Illiteracy

September 5, 2006
English Composition 1552   

Free Association

A)    Education

When I see or hear the word education I think of red brick buildings. The first building that comes to mind if my first elementary school in South Fayette Township. Then, the other schools I have attended quickly flash through my mind. After that I begin to see teachers that I have had class with. The first teacher I see is from my first school and class thirty years ago. The other teachers I see are few but are the ones that have stood out for some reason. The word education also makes me think of books, papers, doing homework, being a child, the happiness of being a child with no real responsibility and how much more joyful the cool days of autumn were as a child. Education also makes me believe that if you are a teacher you never truly grow up and have to be an adult, it is like being a kid forever. I think of
lunchroom meals, recess and the games we played, football, dodgeball, muckle. I also remember all the pretty girls I went to high school with and the friends I had and what are they doing now.

B)    Illiteracy

The first thought the word illiteracy provokes is stupidity. This is an insensitive way to describe someone who cannot read but it comes more from my pity for people who can’t read than an actual judgment of those people. I see adults learning to read for the first time, I don’t see kids just beginning to read. Illiteracy makes me think ads in free weekly newspapers looking for adults to tutor other adults on how to read. I think of people who cannot complete job applications properly because they can’t read the instructions. I also think of the poor writing done by somebody who can’t read, if you can’t read you won’t be able to write. I think of news stories about literacy problems and how they negatively effect society. Illiteracy makes me think that we as a society are failing because reading isn’t stressed enough, we prefer visual mediums now.

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