Authors: Kathleen Burkhart
Collection: Research Materials
Prepared as a requirement for a master of arts degree at Alberta’s Athabasca University, this thesis offers a qualitative approach to research on adult literacy.
The author focuses on participatory literacy education, which is based on the belief that learners themselves should be at the centre of literacy instruction, defining their own needs and working out approaches to meeting those needs.
The author designed a questionnaire to assess how community-based adult literacy programs in Canada use participatory practices in their work. The questionnaire was distributed to 15 adult literacy organizations.
The analysis of the data showed that all 15 organizations use moderate forms of participatory adult literacy education within their programs. However, it appears that one-to-one tutor programs face a greater challenge in incorporating participatory activities that involve peer interaction or group activities, while small-group programs have greater flexibility in that regard.
The author concludes that both one-to-one and small-group programs have strong potential to incorporate participatory approaches into their instruction techniques.