SIMPLE MODEL OF READING - The simple model of reading/literacy development consists of two main components: the development of oral language skills (linguistic comprehension) and print-based (decoding) skills (Gough & Tunmer, 1986). The model is meant to be overtly simplistic. Its main purpose is to recognise/isolate two facts. First, robust oral language development lies at the heart of literacy development, since literacy is codified oral language comprehension. Second, explicit instruction and meaningful practice with print must compliment one's development of oral communication, since we may "be wired for sound but not for print."
Over time, the language of books will come to impact one oral discourse; however, in the early years, oral language growth is the horse which pulls the cart of literacy. However, this trend changes over time, as the language of books extends everyday discourse.
- Gough, P.B., & Tunmer, W.E. (1986). Decoding, reading and reading disability. Remedial and Special Education, 7, 6–10.
CONSTRAINED SKILLS THEORY - Constrained skill theory states that literacy development involves the development of two types of skills: constrained skills and unconstrained skills. Constrained skills relate to structural skills like phonemic awareness, alphabetic knowledge, spelling, syntactical knowledge and fluency. These skills are also referred to as print-based or decoding skills. The aim of instruction is to achieve 'mastery' of these skills. These skills are necessary, though not sufficient, for full literacy. They are best taught intensively and systematically. Unconstrained skills, on the other hand, refers to growth in vocabulary, comprehension, composition and critical thinking skills. These skills are developed across one's lifetime, and they require explicit, strategic instruction; meaningful routines; and opportunities to practice in authentic circumstances. As a result, in the early years, instruction must be both structured and creative.
The diagram to the right seeks to represent this relationship schematically. The inner circle represents the core constrained skills from which all other literacy emanates. The petals of the flower represent the diversity of knowledge and textual domains which are fostered through experience and habitus.
- Paris, S. G. (2005). Reinterpreting the development of reading skills. Reading Research Quarterly, 40(2), 184–202. doi:10.1598/RRQ.40.2.3
COGNITIVE MODEL OF READING - The Cognitive Model of Reading (represented in the image to the right from McKenna & Stahl, 2009) provides a similar division between constrained skills and unconstrained skills. The uppermost layer includes skills related to print-based skills, such as phonemic awareness, print awareness, decoding knowledge, sight word knowledge, and fluency in context. When all works well, this leads to automatic word recognition, which is necessary but not sufficient for reading achievement. The middle layer includes parallel development of (content) knowledges, such as vocabulary development, grammatical knowledge, background (or domain) knowledge and knowledge of the way different texts/discourses are structured. These skills allow one to “take part in the conversation.” The final (bottom) layer includes the strategic reading knowledge that a learner develops through practice. Over time, readers become adept at summarising, extracting main ideas, interpreting, challenging perspectives and more. In short, core skills, plentiful practice/experience, and rich knowledge contribute to successful reading achievement.
- McKenna, M. C., & Stahl, K. A. D. (2009). Assessment for reading instruction (ebook) (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.
PILLARS OF LITERACY DEVELOPMENT - The oft-cited NICHCD Report (2000) identifies five "pillars" which are essential for reading development. These five pillars can be further divided into two sections: print-based skills and meaning-making skills. The category of print-based skills includes the development of phonemic awareness, alphabetic knowledge (letter-sound correspondence) and fluency. The category of meaning-making skills includes the development of vocabulary and comprehension skills.
It is important to recognise additional "pillars", which were not included in the original report. We must add writing development, including syntactical development, as a sixth pillar (Gee, 2003). August and Shanahan (2006) also emphasise that oral language development is an essential pillar for English language learners. And Hierbert and Alexander (Cervetti & Hiebert, forthcoming; Alexander, 2005) remind us that content and strategic knowledges must develop in tandem with literacy skills.
- Alexander, P. A. (2005). The Path to Competence: A Lifespan Developmental Perspective on Reading. Journal of Literacy Research, 37(4), 413–436.
- August, D., & Shanahan, T. (2006). Executive Summary: Developing Literacy in Second-Language Learners. In D. August & T. Shanahan (Eds.), Developing Literacy in Second-Language Learners: Report of the National Literacy Panel on Language-Minority Children and Youth. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
- Cervetti, G. N. & Hierbert, E. H. (forthcoming). The Sixth Pillar of Reading Instruction: Knowledge Development. In The Reading Teacher.
- Gee, J. P. (2003). Opportunity to Learn: A language-based perspective on assessment. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 10(1), 27–46. doi:10.1080/09695940301696
- National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel. Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction (NIH Publication No. 00-4769). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
CTELL'S 12 PRINCIPLES OF EFFECTIVE LITERACY INSTRUCTION - CTELL (Case Technologies to Enhance Literacy Learning)  provides a list of the twelve principles of effective literacy learning that complement those included in the essential pillars for literacy development (above). CTELL's list include the following
- Connecting literacy instruction with the linguistic, cultural, home backgrounds of the learner:
- Developing emergent literacy skills, behaviours and attitudes;
- Phonemic awareness instruction;
- Decoding instruction;
- Comprehension instruction;
- Independent reading;
- Fluency instruction;
- Integrating reading and writing activities to enhance the learning of both;
- Encouraging enthusiasm for reading and writing;
- Using technology wisely with early literacy development;
- Assessing early and providing appropriate instructional intervention; and
- Developing teachers’ knowledge, analytical skills and abilities to orchestrate the many facets of language, literacy and learning.
- Henry, L. A., Castek, J., Roberts, L., Coiro, J., & Leu, D. J. (2004). Case technologies to enhance literacy learning: A new model for early literacy teacher preparation. Knowledge Quest, 33(2), 26-29.
COMPONENT MODEL OF READING ACHIEVEMENT - The Component Model of Reading Achievement (Aaron et al., 2008) identifies three categories of factors which come to impact reading success. These three categories are cognitive factors, psychological factors and ecological factors. Cognitive factors include "innate factors" which refer to the individual's cognitive capacity to read effectively. Cognitive factors include working memory, pattern recognition, memory transfer and retrieval, executive functioning and more. Psychological factors include attributes that impact one's inclination to read. Therefore, it includes factors such as motivation, identity, self-concept, self-efficacy, resilience, grit, interest and purpose. Lastly, reading achievement is influenced by ecological or environmental factors. These include the number of books in the home (including age-appropriate books), the education level of parents and/or caregivers, the values placed on reading in the community, and the quality of the schools/teaching that one has access to. Of all the factors, the ecological factors have the greatest influence on reading achievement, and they come to shape psychological factors as well (Chui, et al., 2012).
- Aaron, P. G., Joshi, R. M., Gooden, R., & Bentum, K. E. (2008). Diagnosis and treatment of reading disabilities based on the component model of reading. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 41(1), 67–84.
- Chiu, M. M., McBride-Chang, C., & Lin, D. (2012). Ecological, psychological, and cognitive components of reading difficulties: testing the component model of reading in fourth graders across 38 countries. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 45(5), 391–405. doi:10.1177/0022219411431241
SHANAHAN'S KEY COMPONENTS FOR LITERACY LEARNING - Timothy Shanahan (2011) argues that effective learning is impacted by the following factors (in order of priority):
- amount of practice/teaching;
- the content of the instruction;
- the quality of the instruction;
- the motivation of the learner; and
- alignment and support.
In other words, learners benefit from practice and lots of it. They also benefit from the right learning (content) at the right time. This is aided when their teacher is a great teacher. The teacher is creative, organised, inspiring and challenging. If the learners are interested, motivated, knowledgeable and committed, then this provides an excellent platform for learning. Lastly, any further features of learning (e.g. technology) must align with and support the learning. Technology in itself will not lead to enhanced learning.
- Shanahan, T. (2008). Literacy across the lifespan: what works? Community Literacy Journal, 3(1), 3–20.
ALLINGTON'S SIX "T's" FOR EFFECTIVE LITERACY INSTRUCTION: Richard Allington (2002) captures this well when he describes the six T’s of effective literacy instruction:
- Substantial time allocated to real practice in reading and writing;
- Availability of texts that are engaging and suitable for learners;
- Teaching that is of the utmost quality, which is adaptive and which scaffolds the development of key skills and understandings;
- Teachers who facilitate rich "talk" (conversations) that allow learners to solidify and expand on ideas;
- Tasks that are deep, authentic, and purposeful; and
- Assessments (or "testing") that provide real information about a learner’s progress toward complete, comprehensive literacy (Allington, 2002)
- Allington, R. L. (2002). What I’ve Learned about Effective Reading Instruction from a Decade of Studying Exemplary Elementary Classroom Teachers. The Phi Delta Kappan, 83(10), 740–747.
FOUR ROLES/RESOURCES OF A READER - Peter Freebody and Alan Luke (1990) summarised reading into four skills: decoding, meaning making, using and analysing/critiquing. In other words, an effective reader can decode the text he or she is reading, understand it (make meaning from it), know how it may be of use and be conscious of how it expresses meaning and how to challenge meanings expressed therein.
- Freebody, P., & Luke, A. (1990). Literacies programs: Debates and demands in cultural context. Prospect: An Australian Journal of TESOL, 5(3), 7 – 16.
ELEMENTS OF LANGUAGE - Language consists of the following elements that - once integrated - reveal the logic and meaning of our utterances:
- phonology (the sound system and how sounds are combined to form words);
- orthography (conventions of the written [spelling] system used to represent speech);
- vocabulary (the vast accumulation of words used to express our world and our concepts);
- morphology (the components within words that express further meaning, such as prefixes, suffixes, and cognates);
- syntax (the forms and rules upon words are arranged to make meaningful sentences);
- discourse (how sentences are uttered in sequences within an utterance and between utterances to express ideas, intentions and/or purposes); and
- pragmatics (the interpretation of extra-linguistic features in one's physical and social environment that influences how one speaks/writes/reads)
AFFORDANCES & EFFECTIVITIES - As defined by Gee (2008), "the term 'affordance' (coined by Gibson 1977, 1979) is used to describe the perceived action possibilities posed by objects or features in the environment ... Any environment in which an individual finds him or herself is filled with affordances." (p. 81) In other words, an affordance contains the possibility of a successful practice, but it does not ensure success. "Even when an affordance is recognized, however, a human actor must also have the capacity to transform the affordance into an actual and effective action. Effectivities are the set of capacities for action that the individual has for transforming affordances into action. An effectivity means that a person can take advantage of what is offered by the objects or features in the environment." (p. 81)
JOINT ATTENTION AND INTENTION - Tomasello (2003) holds that the concepts of joint attention and joint intentional activity are pivotal for language learning and language engagement. In this model, participants in a language event are jointly attending to a phenomenon (e.g. a sunset) and are using language to share observations, interpretations and/or intentions under joint attention. There is an assumption in this exchange that the participants share an intention (or a focus) on the value of the phenomenon and the significance of the phenomenon. In the case of children, it is apparent that both the child and the adult may not share the same intent when investigating the phenomenon. It is through both linguistic and extra-linguistic elements (e.g. hand motions, demonstrations, etc) that either the child or the adult seeks to express his or her intent, focus and requirements.
As Halliday (1993) finds, children start to use non-linguistic, non-symbolic gestures to express intent (or wanting something). Over time, the child is brought into language, and the child comes to express those intentions (and subtleties of intention) through language. As Wittgenstein (2001) observed, "One thinks that learning a language consists of giving names to objects. Viz, to human beings, to shapes , to colours, to pains, to moods, to numbers, etc. To repeat -- naming is something like attaching a label to a thing. One can say that this is preparatory to the use of a word. But what is it a preparation for?" (PI 26)
AFFECTIVE FILTER - Learning a new language is affected by the learner's emotions and motivation. Learners will perform better if they have high motivation and are learning in environments where they are/feel supported. Learners are more likely to take risks and will more fully process the language if they are in supportive environments. If you increase stress factors, then language learning and performance will deteriorate. This deterioration is known as the affective filter. The best learning occurs in environments where there is high motivation with high challenge AND high support.
COMING INTO LANGUAGE - When we learn a language, we are brought into or initiated into the language. The language unfolds, so to speak. This is what I mean by "coming into language". I am referring to the process through which one is brought into a language by others through common lived experience.
SCAFFOLDING - We come to learn methods of activity and systems of knowledge. These methods and systems become reinforced as they are shaped through our interactions with the notion of learning presented to us in a circle of influence. Deep grooves are set in our thinking and our behaviour. In this sense, education proceeded first as a form of training in ways of doing and seeing, which become prototypes for our thinking and decision in future events
BOOTSTRAPPING - Bootstrapping occurs when an individual becomes aware of the patterns and rules governing a phenomenon, such as in language or in a practice. The learner develops an appreciation of and a template for meaningful/permittable combinations or actions. By becoming aware of allowable patterns, one can direct one's attention more efficiently since one is better able to anticipate what to expect or how to act. For instance, the first encounter of a new social situation may give one trepidation. However, regular practice allows one to accumulate the experience to be more confident in what to expect and how to act (to play the game). On the other hand, the experience may also limit creativity since one may develop a familiarity that limits (bootstraps) one's ability to imagine other possible ways of seeing or acting. In relation to language, experience teaches one the patterns of spelling, grammar, and discourse. Therefore, one becomes more efficient at predicting or discriminating correct form and use.
ASPECTS - Refers to salient features in the environment. By themselves, they are neutral facts or occurrences in the world. However, within a system of knowledge or in a certain way of seeing and/or acting, the aspects obtain a particular significance. Consider - for instance - the words on this page to one who is familiar with literacy in the English language. Or to a construction site under the watchful eye of an experienced engineer or a foreman. Both individuals would notice aspects that the novice would be unable to discern.
ASPECT SEEING - (also known as noticing/seeing aspects) To see and interpret aspects (or phenomena) as meaningful, or as imbued with meaning. To discern aspects (or patterns) in a whole and to organise how these aspects fit into a system.
SEEING AS - Refers to a later stage of perception when an individual regularly sees and/or interprets salient features in a particular way. In other words, a certain way of seeing and interpreting becomes fluent, automatic and/or familiar.
HABITUS - This is a concept used by the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, who cites Wittgenstein as a key contributor to his thinking. Habitus refers to the lived conditions (or context) that serve as the foundation for certain practices, knowledge, tastes and values. It most closely aligns with Wittgenstein's use of the "form of life" concept. Bourdieu would argue that whilst habitus is key to understanding a practice or a way of thinking, it is often poorly analysed or entirely ignored when people consider social, cultural or learning event.
COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE - A group of people who engages in a practice (who are the custodians of a practice or a set of practices). This can be a community of doctors, of chess players, of historians, of readers and writers, etc. The community is the custodian of the practices as well as the customs, culture and identities inherent in that community. A community is usually evolving as new members, practices and settings gives rise to a dynamic space.
SITUATED LEARNING - When we learn, we learn interactively with others to use such learning to approach and/or solve problems. Therefore, learning is not some abstract activity or content. Instead, there is a context in which learners are situated, and the context/culture provides a justification/rationale for learning. Learning is situated. The learner embodies the learning in its application.
SEMIOTIC DOMAINS - A semiotic domain is an area of knowledge, such as basketball, gardening, cooking, physics, hunting, bush tucker, etc. A semiotic domain includes knowledge, concepts, language, contexts, etc. Throughout one's life, one is brought into a range of semiotic domains in learning interactively with others.
LANGUAGE/LITERACY AS SOCIAL PRACTICE - This concept is an extension of Wittgenstein's Language Games premise. That is, language and literacy are tools used within culture to achieve certain ends. As social practices, language and literacy consist of a repertoire of genres in context. They include events, practices, spaces and material artefacts. In other words, every instance of language use is an event that is part of a particular practice that often is practiced in a set of social spaces in which certain material resources are used in purposeful activity. For instance, the event of reading a nighttime book with a child is a distinct practice that exhibits each of the above features and is based on a culture of book reading that is valued by the participants. Similarly, military orders delivered to a platoon in training would also require the learning of conventions in joint, purposeful activity that used non-discursive materials for non-discursive ends. We learn language and literacy not as ends in themselves but as vehicles in our forms of living.
ACTIVITY SYSTEM - An activity system describes the interaction between people and resources with certain intended outcomes. An activity system involves the integration of
- instruments (various tools and technologies),
- rules (norms of use), and
- division of labor (the differential expertise of different actors in the system).
Various other relationships in the model capture the diverse ways in which
- subjects (actors),
- the object (goal) of the activity system, and
- the community (various types of actors in the system)
interrelate with each other and with the instruments, rules, and division of labor to achieve particular outcomes.
STRUCTURING STRUCTURES WHICH STRUCTURE STRUCTURE - Refers to those aspects within one's environment that gives shape to practices, influences what practices one is part of, and comes to sustain practices. The concept is closely related to Bourdieu's concept of habitus, and it refers to the background to practices and knowledge which is often taken for granted or assumed. For instance, an actor must be aware that the ability to attain a career in acting is built on the premise that a culture values the concept of acting and drama, and the culture can allow/afford for members of its community to embody the role of actors. It can be the case that one feels entitled to a form of living without admitting that this form of life is reliant on certain capital, practices, methods of production and division of labour to be in place for the practice to be sustained.
CULTURE - Stanley Cavell claimed that Wittgenstein was a philosopher of culture. That is, Cacell asserts that Wittgenstein claims that our knowledge, our practices and our values are derived from the interactions of a community. There is considerable evidence to suggest that this is the case. In the Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein stipulates that meaning is derived from the form of life to which our language and practices occur. In addition, On Certainty emphasises how one's knowledge and world pictures are arrived at through one's "upbringing".
COMMUNITY PLANE - Any learning occurs on the personal, interpersonal and community planes. All three planes interact. How an individual or groups thinks, acts, sees and deliberates (the personal plane) is impacted by the broader institutional, community and political spheres. Forces outside of the individual and of the group can determine which practices are fostered/encouraged or which ones are marginalised. The community or institutional plane involves shared history, languages, rules, values, beliefs, and identities.This is sometimes addressed in studies of entire schools, districts, professions, neighbourhoods, tribes, or cultures, and the ways that these “common sociocultural inheritances” interact with other levels of development. If a particular practice is reinforced on the community and cultural stage - such as success in sport - then this will have an impact upon other levels of engagement.
INTERPERSONAL PLANE - Any learning occurs on the personal, interpersonal and community planes. All three planes interact. How one thinks, acts, sees and deliberates (the personal plane) is impacted by previous interpersonal interactions with others (such as parents, community members, friends, etc). The interpersonal or social plane includes communication, role performances, dialogue, cooperation, conflict, assistance, and assessment. In educational research, this is often addressed in studies of teaching/learning interactions between teachers and students or parents and children. Vygotsky (1978) would remind us 'Every function in the child's cultural development appears twice: first on the social level, and later, on the individual level; first, between people..., and then inside people... All higher [mental] functions originate as actual relations between human individuals' (p.57)
PERSONAL PLANE - Any learning occurs on the personal, interpersonal and community planes. All three planes interact. How one thinks, acts, sees and deliberates (the personal plane) is impacted by previous interpersonal interactions with others (such as parents, community members, friends, etc). The personal plane involves individual cognition, emotion, behaviour, values, and beliefs. In educational research, this might correspond to studies of individual student or teacher actions, psychological characteristics, or competence. Vygotsky (1978) would remind us 'Every function in the child's cultural development appears twice: first on the social level, and later, on the individual level; first, between people..., and then inside people... All higher [mental] functions originate as actual relations between human individuals' (p.57)
DISCOURSE - Discourse refers to the exchange of ideas through an interchange between speakers. A discourse analysis involves an analysis of the types of exchanges, their conventions, the roles taken by the speakers involved, and the dominant themes which direct and control the conversations. Discourse can refer to a single instance (such as a conversation) and it can refer to collective conversations that are taking place over time. One can tell quite a bit about people by observing (a) what they tend to speak about, (b) how they speak, and (c) the roles taken by participants through the activities of speaking. In the field of Systemic Functional Linguistics, any message is considered to have (i) content, (ii) a form, and (iii) participants, also known as field, mode and tenor.
In relation to discourse, James Paul Gee emphasised that any message contains two dimensions. The little "d" discourse is the language itself, whether it is oral or print or digital. However, for any text to be understood, one needs to know the context, the culture and conversation of which the text is part. Therefore, one must also be able to read the big "D" discourse, or know and interpret conventions of context and culture so as to engage in the discursive and associated non-discursive activity.
COMPONENTS OF A MESSAGE - Any message is found to have a field (a content), a mode (a form) and a tenor (an audience). Even the cry "Help!" would satisfy all three elements. It has a term with a content in the form of an imperative exclamation for an audience who is to either to read the exclamation seriously (if a bear is on attack) or with irony (if instead a little baby is the attacker).
Gee (2003) provides the following example:
- Hornworms sure vary a lot in how well they grow.
- Hornworm growth displays a significant amount of variation.
Both convey the same field (content) but their modes are impacted by the intended audience and - consequently - the tenor of the utterance.
LANGUAGE GAMES - As a general rule, a language game is an instance of language exchange. To understand and analyse the exchange, one must look at the language used as well as the roles that the participants are taking in the activity, which is taking place in a form of life. We are curious as to how different moves (uses of language) are used and responded to in the midst of the activity. For instance, Wittgenstein presents a scenario between a builder and an apprentice in which the builder calls out for different materials and the apprentice learns to identify the materials and also knows that he must bring the materials to the builder when they are called out in a particular way in the particular situation. So, to be more exact, the exchange is part of a practice, which means one learns the conventions, context, purpose, terms and form of the language game.
Consider the telling of a joke or the reciting of a prayer or the performance of a play. Also, look at how certain language games (or practices) become unacceptable (such as sexist and racist banter) or obsolete (such as the mannerism of 18th century English polite discourse). In addition, language games are played out to negotiate and navigate the meaning and relevance of concepts, such as the right to free speech, or the role of religion in a secular society. These debates are ongoing practices, which have evolved to reflect different "teams", each attempting to achieve intended or unintended outcomes.
ELABORATED AND RESTRICTED CODES - In his work on linguistics and sociology, Basil Bernstein suggests a rough model to distinguish between what he refers to as an "elaborated code" and a "restricted code". In this case, “code” refers to the language that is used by an individual or a group. In the case of an elaborated code, the speaker will select from a relatively extensive range of alternatives. Propositions express a specific meaning based on the choices made by the speaker and those choices which are omitted or avoided. We imagine a language that is rich with interchangeable parts, specific terminology and a consciousness of the consequences of word choice.
In the case of a restricted code the number of choices is often severely limited, and the speakers tends to navigate through a narrow, often cliched language base. Language is often less technical and it relies upon common phrases used regularly by the social group. The speaker may lack the language choices that would enable him or her to express exactly what is being felt, thought and/or experienced. Consequently, the individual may resort to language and attitudes that are typical within the group. In some cases, it can argued that the user is not critically aware of subtle significance of their language choices, and they can also be evasive if called upon to elaborate or explain themselves further.
On a psychological level the codes may be distinguished by the extent to which each facilitates (elaborated code) or inhibits (restricted code) one’s ability to explicitly verbalise individual thoughts, feelings and responses. It is often the case that a restricted code has the capacity to become elaborated; however, it is often seen as inferior in formal educational contexts and is therefore not opened up to critical examination and extension.
ILL-STRUCTURED TASKS - An ill-structured task is not an unusual task (at all). It refers to any task in which the first step involves identifying the task itself and how to proceed with it. For instance, one may be asked to write a letter to one's local mayor. Even if an individual has written letters before (and political ones as well), this does not mean that the person will not need to interpret, deliberate, plan and execute this task. It is not merely a matter of moving mechanically through the task. At each stage the person must assess progress against the original intention and reassess time and other available (and not-so-available) resources. Most reading and writing tasks are ill-structured task since no two reading or writing tasks are ever the same, thereby requiring all readers and writers to be initiated into the practices of deliberation, monitoring and reflection.
REFLECTIVE PRACTICE - Throughout a practice, it is important to encourage reflective practice, or thinking about one's own practices, choices and deliberation. Critical reflection encourages thought about how one goes about the practice and about the relevance and meaning of the practice itself. It is vital that the learner becomes a reflective practitioner as one becomes more independent.
EXPERTISE - In cognitive theory, the construct of expertise has been the principle one used to account for the acquisition of regular and skilled performance, or, if you will, habits of mind that distinguish particular pursuits or knowledge domains. Expertise comes a long and motivated experience in a domain, an experience that produces a large and complex knowledge base that one uses in the course of activity.
ENTROPY - Entropy is formally defined as "the lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder." Any system must have energy placed into it so that the system is maintained or preserved. If the practices of a cultural system are not reinforced, then the system and the form of life to which that system is attached will suffer and decay. According to the concept of entropy, the natural state of any system is decay unless efforts are made to maintain it.