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Adult literacy: promoting family well- being and community development Lyn Tett, University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

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Presentation on theme: "Adult literacy: promoting family well- being and community development Lyn Tett, University of Edinburgh, Scotland."— Presentation transcript:

1 Adult literacy: promoting family well- being and community development Lyn Tett, University of Edinburgh, Scotland

2 Presentation Draw on research into literacy in Scotland (Maclachlan et al, 2008; Tett et al, 2006) to illustrate benefits of learning that will promote family well-being and development. Use data from the Education For All global monitoring reports from 2006 & 2010 to show the wider benefits of adult literacy. Emphasise the importance of good quality learning and teaching

3 Learning Process of acquiring knowledge, skills and understanding Social process that takes place in interaction with people Both these processes have to be in operation for learning to take place Learning always takes place in the context of a specific society that sets the basic conditions for the learning possibilities.

4 The tension field of learning EMOTIONAL SOCIAL COGNITIVE From Illeris, K (2004) ‘The three dimensions of learning’ NIACE SOCIETY

5 Literacy & community development Literacy is always employed for a purpose - such as making decisions or solving problems - and in a particular context. Literacy is more than an individual skill, it is a communal resource, integral to the social actions, relationships and institutions within which it is used and developed. It therefore helps people living in a variety of communities to define and take action on the issues that affect them and needs to be placed in the wider context of social justice and human rights.

6 Research from Scotland

7 Defining Literacy ‘The ability to read, write and use numbers, to handle information, express ideas and opinions, make decisions and solve problems, as family members, workers, citizens and lifelong learners’ (Scottish Government, 2001). The focus is on the skills, knowledge and understanding that enable people to do what they want in their private, family, community and working lives.

8 Building confidence Psychological (self esteem, own potential and achievements, independence, happier, voice opinions, more aware) Skills related (speaking to others, using the computer, reading papers and books, filling in forms, shopping) Activities/facets of their lives (approaching strangers for information, feeling safer, dealing with conflict, standing up for themselves, not needing an interpreter)

9 Family well-being Well-being refers to positive and sustainable characteristics which enable people to thrive and flourish. Participation in education has an impact on emotional resilience enabling families to deal more easily with adversity and stressful social conditions. People who feel more confident & have a sense of purpose respond to stress in ways that are less harmful to their health.

10 Changes in relationships Relationships between:- Parents and children Between partners Between grandparents and grandchildren Amongst family members Amongst other relatives

11 Benefits of family literacy Valuing –their children’s educational achievement Supporting –directly in their studies or indirectly by involvement in their school Role-modelling – parents become model learners for their children Reciprocating – children helped their parents Enjoying – children and parents learnt together

12 Parents’ Roles Participation in literacy programmes helped parents gain: More confidence in their own ability as a parent An improved capacity to communicate with their children Greater understanding or patience More practical skills, for example in being able to use a computer.

13 Pedagogy and Practice Flexible curriculum that responds to the learners Group work that builds a positive learner identity Positive tutor-student & student-student relationships A sense of shared experiences and values amongst class members

14 Insights from the EFA Reports

15 Inclusive Education Triangle Opportunities Learning environment Accessibility From Yusuf Sayed (2010) EFA Global Monitoring Team, UNESCO SOCIETY

16 The impact of exclusion and disadvantage  Women: 88 literate women for 100 adult literate men – 66 in South and West Asia; 69 in Arab States; 76 in sub- Saharan Africa  Indigenous peoples: their lower literacy rates reflect limited access to formal schooling  Disabilities: over 600 million people have a disability, two-thirds live in low-income countries. Evidence suggests weak literacy skills  Migrants: dramatic growth within and between countries  Rural residents: disparities are greater in poorer countries with low overall literacy rates (44% rural vs 72% urban in Pakistan) Where poverty rates are higher, literacy rates tend to be lower

17 Illiteracy mirrors wider disadvantages Low income Adults from the poorest households are far more likely to be illiterate Ethnicity, language and group based disadvantage Minority language groups and indigenous people often have far lower levels of literacy. Disparities linked to location Illiteracy tends to be higher in poorer regions, rural areas and slums Gender Being female is a near universal indicator for lower than average literacy.

18 What difference does literacy make? Self-esteem & empowerment Political benefits Cultural benefits Social benefits Economic benefits

19 Checklist for high quality programs Is teaching participatory? Are the teaching hours sufficient? Are learning groups appropriate and sensitive to cultural and social norms? Do learners have enough teaching materials and are they well-designed? Are programmes available in mother tongue languages?

20 Conclusion Participation in adult literacy does have an impact on family well-being and community development. Becoming more literate can bring about transformation in people’s lives and also sustain communities through preventing decay or collapse. However this requires good pedagogic practices with well qualified teachers and properly resourced programmes.

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