A Discussion Paper
Authors: Rongo H. Wetere
The author begins with a discussion of the social and educational problems facing Canada’s Aboriginal people. He argues that Canadians can learn a great deal from the experiences of the indigenous people of other countries, particularly the Maori of New Zealand.
The author outlines initiatives that have raised literacy levels among the Maori, then goes on to describe the ArrowMight Canada program, which was designed to deliver adult literacy, numeracy, and computer education in a home-based format. The program consists of three modules and includes multimedia lessons. Students also have access to help from a community facilitator.
The author explains that the program is based on the experiences of 35 countries in Latin America and Africa, as well as New Zealand, that use the Cuban teaching philosophy found in the “Yo si Puedo” (Yes, I Can) program. Specific modifications have been made to meet the needs of Native and non-Native English-speaking Canadians.
Pilot applications of the program have been carried out in several regions of Canada.
The International Adult Literacy Survey Results
In 1990, Statistics Canada released the results of the Survey of Literacy Skills Used in Daily Activities (LSUDA), a 1989 Canada-wide survey of the reading skills of adults. In 1992, the then Ontario Ministry of Education reported on the LSUDA results for Ontario (Stan Jones, Survey of Adult Literacy in Ontario).
Shortly after the release of the LSUDA results in Canada and those of the National Adult Literacy Survey in the United States, interest in a comparative international study of adult literacy began to grow. In December 1995, the first results of the 1994 survey of adult literacy in seven countries, the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS), were reported in Literacy, Economy and Society, a joint publication of Statistics Canada and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In September 1996, Statistics Canada released Reading the Future: A Portrait of Literacy in Canada, a report on the national data collected in IALS.
To measure literacy in IALS, respondents answered a set of test questions designed to measure adult reading skills as well as background questions about their education, work experience and literacy practices.
Ontario participated in the survey in order to gain key data to inform policy development and to focus its literacy programming. The present report covers in detail the IALS results for Ontario. It updates and supplements the previous report, Survey of Adult Literacy in Ontario. It is organized much as the previous report with a table, graph and commentary for each of the major literacy relationships. Throughout the text, shaded boxes provide background information. Usually the tables provide results for three scales -- prose, document and quantitative -- but the graphs are used to point to particularly interesting results in part of the data.
A Report to the Adult Basic Education Unit, Toronto Board of Education
Authors: Tom Ciancone
This paper looks at the nature of the adult learner who needs and seeks instruction in mathematics. Secondly, it examines the nature of mathematics learning and its role in interpreting the real world. Finally, the author explores what implications these two areas of study have for instruction of adults in mathematics.
Series: Beyond Worksheets
Literacy practitioners across Ontario have continually requested more professional development and resources to support numeracy facilitation in their programs. Metro Toronto Movement for Literacy (MTML) hosted the workshop, “Facilitating Numeracy: An Introduction,” developed and delivered by Tom Ciancone in August 2001. The purpose of the project was to develop an approach for contextualizing the teaching of numeracy in adult literacy and workforce literacy environments. This report uses an approach that sees numeracy as social practice and adopts a holistic way of learning.
The report is divided into eight chapters:
2. What are the numeracy needs of adults in literacy programs?
3. Developing an approach to numeracy
4. A Social and Holistic Approach to Numeracy: Propositions and Perspectives
5. Modelling Numeracy as Social Practice Through Holistic Learning
6. Adopting A Social and Holistic Approach
7. Direction Toward Adopting A Social and Holistic Approach
8. Next Steps for Adult Numeracy Practice in Ontario
Series: WWestNet’s The bottom line
This issue includes an article on a national conference on best practices for Essential Skills development in the workplace. The conference, held in Calgary in 2002, also featured Bow Valley College’s official launch of the Test of Workplace Essential Skills (TOWES) and a session on recognition of workplace learning.
Other articles include a feature on the Manitoba model for integrated language and communication for the workplace and a discussion of numeracy in the workplace.
Canadian Results of the International Adult Literacy and Skills Survey
This report presents the results of the 2003 International Adult Literacy and Skills Survey (IALSS) that measured the proficiencies in literacy, numeracy and problem solving of the Canadian population. It shows the skills distributions of the population of each of the ten provinces and three territories and of specific subpopulations, such as immigrants, Aboriginal peoples and minority language groups.
The report also analyses the relationships between socio-demographic characteristics, such as age, education, type of work and income, and performance in literacy, numeracy and problem solving.
Building a brighter financial future
Authors: Task Force on Financial Literacy
This is the final report of the Task Force on Financial Literacy, established in 2009 by the Government of Canada to consult with individuals and organizations across the country on how best to address the gaps in Canadians’ financial knowledge. By the time the consultation period ended, the task force had received more than 300 written submissions, heard from 175 presenters in 14 communities, and attracted 125 contributors to its online forum.
In this document, the authors put forward a proposed national strategy on financial literacy and also provide a set of recommendations on how to achieve it.
The authors note that five priorities form the foundation of the strategy: responsibility for the outcome of the strategy must be shared among all stakeholders; coordination of the various initiatives will require strong leadership; financial literacy requires lifelong learning; resources and innovative approaches will be needed to raise Canadians’ awareness of the importance of adopting good financial behaviours; and accountability will be key to the success of the strategy.
The authors state that financial literacy is an essential life skill for all Canadians and is acquired through lifelong learning. They emphasize the role that the school system can play and recommend that all provincial and territorial governments provide financial literacy professional development opportunities for teachers, with the federal government supporting these efforts by making resources available and accessible for teachers.
First Canadian Conference on Literacy and Health
In partnership with 26 national health associations, the Canadian Public Health Association raises awareness about the links between literacy and health among health professionals. Specifically, over the past nine years, CPHA's National Literacy and Health Program (NLHP) has promoted plain language health information and clear verbal communication in the health profession throughout Canada.
The NLHP has undertaken numerous projects in the following are as:
• seniors' prescription medication use
• access to health services and health information
• poor health communication and its impact on patients' informed consent and health professional liability
• hard-to-use forms that undermine the independence and wellbeing of low-literacy health consumers
• health among low-literacy youth
Authors: Lisa Hagedorn
This document catalogues resources that can be used to teach adult numeracy. It includes books and binders; sources of manipulables (places to buy or borrow materials and aides), computer software, web sites, resource centres, videos, and reading for professional development. Each listing provides publication details, as well as information about the resource's form, best use, purpose, strengths and weaknesses, and more.
Presentation to the Task Force on Financial Literacy, May 10, 2010
Authors: Paul Cappon
In this presentation to the Government of Canada’s Task Force on Financial Literacy, the president and CEO of the Canadian Council on Learning (CCL) outlines the role the CCL could play in enhancing Canadian’s financial skills.
Dr. Paul Cappon points out that CCL identified financial literacy as one of a set of “new” literacies required to function effectively in today’s world. Others include digital, computer and information literacy.
Specifically, he says the CCL could contribute to evaluating national progress on financial literacy by providing a synthesis of available research; monitoring trends and identifying gaps in information and data; identifying who is most vulnerable, and providing new insights into why they are at risk; and providing recommendations for the development of targeted strategies to strengthen the financial literacy skills and capabilities of Canadians.
The task force was established in 2009 and published its final report in February 2011. The report can be found at http://library.nald.ca/item/9167.