Summary of a Workshop Presented at the 7th Annual Conference of Adults Learning Mathematics
This is the report of a workshop that explored the differences between measuring skill-based numeracy (using math in school) and function-based numeracy (using math in real life). Workshop participants discussed how these different approaches to "learning outcomes" can affect the curriculum for teaching adult numeracy.
This is the report of a study that was conducted for two purposes: (1) to develop a new method to teach adults to read and to write while reinforing neuropsychological abilities, and (2) to compare the efficiency of this new method with the two traditional methods used in Mexico to teach adults to read and write.
A Learning Outcomes Approach to Describing Levels of Skill in Communications & Numeracy
The manual is based on the skills listed in the matrix of Working with Learning Outcomes (1998). The summary statements in The Level Descriptions Manual provide literacy assessors and learners with a summary of skills for each level of the communications outcomes of Read with Understanding for Various Purposes and Write Clearly to Express Ideas as well as each outcome in the numeracy domain. The summary statements also present LBS (Literacy and Basic Skills) program content in a way which can be easily understood by people outside LBS-funded agencies in Ontario. Although the manual is based on the matrix, two revisions have been made, in the interests of clarity and ease of use. These are in the domains of numeracy and self-management and self direction where two component learning outcomes have been integrated to create one component learning outcome, i.e. Use Number Sense and Computation and Become a Self-Directed Learner.
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Authors: George Demetrion
While the theories of New Literacy Studies are being applied in teaching, they have had much less currency at the level of educational systems and policies - institutions, funding, and accountability. Such a shift in the understanding of literacy means that ‘performance' is defined differently and requires a different approach to accountability. One's perspective on what is good performance in adult education, and what should be measured, depends on one's context and position. Learners' perspectives on what is a successful program may not be the same as policymakers' perspectives. Learners may want a program that treats them with respect, allows them to feel successful, provides them with the learning opportunities they want, and supports the results that are important to them, whether they are a credential or the ability to read to their children. Policymakers may not care about any of the process, but want a program that gets people into jobs.
Educators, rooted in the kindergarten-through-higher-education tradition, may care most about credentials. As Juliet Merrifield maintains in "Contested Ground: Performance Accountability in Adult Basic Education", the concept of functional literacy should be laid to rest. The concept is flawed. Its definition is arbitrary, its measurement is problematic, and the phenomenon of "functioning in life" cannot readily be equated with literacy. Adults with limited literacy skills should be credited with the skills and knowledge that they do have. Educators should start to build on and extend this knowledge and skill, based on the needs, desires, and interests of the adult learners, rather than dwelling on measuring how "functional" a learner is or needs to become, according to standardized tests.
For a copy of this report, contact : Literacy Volunteers of Greater Hartford, 30 Arbor Street, Hartford, CT 06106 USA, E-mail : Gdemetrion@Juno.com
Authors: Thomas G. Sticht
The author developed a Workshop on the Listening and Reading Processes of Adults and presented it to groups in Louisiana, Kentucky, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, and Montreal. The total of nearly 250 participants were asked to complete a survey that included questions about the knowledge and training they had about phonemics, phonics, listening and reading processes of adult literacy students.
This report includes three parts: Part 1 presents an overview of the goals, objectives and expected outcomes of the Workshop. Part 2 presents a summary of the data obtained with the participant survey, and Part 3 presents a list of publications used in preparing the Workshop notebook.
Authors: Joel Macht
This report has two objectives. One is to illustrate the complexity of the relationships between literacy, disability, employment, education and income. The data illustrating the impact of disability on literacy is explored. The report then demonstrates the value of high literacy skills in the present labour market.
The second and major objective of the report is to determine how to address the literacy needs of people with disabilities. Information from relevant resources and a selection of Canada's best practice literacy programs helped the author to formulate thirteen recommendations, intended to address the problem of low literacy among people with disabilities and to guide the efforts of the Persons With Disabilities Advisory Committee (PWDAC).
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An Assessment of the Literacy Needs of Oil & Gas Camp Workers in the Fort St. John Area
Authors: Michele Wiens
This is the report of research conducted into the perceived literacy needs of Oil & Gas camp workers in isolated work camps in the Fort St. John area. It also investigated what types of programs could be implemented to meet these needs. The authors conducted interviews and reviewed existing research on the topic. The report provides recommendations to help camp workers upgrade their skills.
The purpose of this submission to the Justice and Human Rights Committee is to discuss those aspects of the Youth Criminal Justice Act that the John Howard Society of Canada approves of, those it is concerned about, and to suggest areas where improvements could be made. It is neither practical nor necessary to comment on all provisions of the Act. The authors have restricted their comments to those areas that reflect JHSC's beliefs as a community-based organization concerned with the prevention of crime and the rehabilitation of offenders.
Authors: Sue Waugh Folinsbee
The impetus for this paper is based on a presentation the author gave to the Manitoba Association of Workplace Educators and Consultants (MAWEC) in March 1999, as part of the Workplace Education Practitioners' Think Tank coordinated by MAWEC and sponsored by the National Literacy Secretariat. The original question MAWEC asked her to respond to was "How can workplace educators prepare to serve their clients' needs?" The author wanted to expand the thinking on this original question by getting the perspectives of a small number of colleagues who had been working in the field for the last 10 years or more. She thought that talking to people who had started at the beginning of the development of the field, could deepen and enrich the thinking about where we have been, where we are and how we need to develop in the future as workplace educators.
This conversation includes workplace educators from Canada, the US and the United Kingdom. Workplace education is used here as a generic term to describe workplace literacy programs that address the reading, writing, numeracy, second language learning and basic computer needs of the work force. Educational programs that address these needs may be job-specific, or a combination of job-related and non-work related, and they may be for any member of the work force.
For more information : Brigid Hayes, Program Manager, National Literacy Secretariat, HRDC, 170 rue de l'Hôtel de Ville, 8th Floor, Hull QC K1A 0J9, Tel (819) 953-5568, Fax (819) 953-8076.