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Practitioner Led Action Research Adult Literacy and Numeracy in Scotland Kathy Maclachlan and Ralf St.Clair.

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Presentation on theme: "Practitioner Led Action Research Adult Literacy and Numeracy in Scotland Kathy Maclachlan and Ralf St.Clair."— Presentation transcript:

1 Practitioner Led Action Research Adult Literacy and Numeracy in Scotland Kathy Maclachlan and Ralf St.Clair

2 ALNIS: Adult Literacy and Numeracy in Scotland. (Scottish Executive 2001). Recommendation 16: that the national strategy, as it develops, be informed by and responsive to research and consultation with learners.Recommendation 16: that the national strategy, as it develops, be informed by and responsive to research and consultation with learners. Rather than one off, stand-alone projects, we need an ongoing programme of research and consultation with learners to: Rather than one off, stand-alone projects, we need an ongoing programme of research and consultation with learners to: Identify gaps in our knowledge Identify gaps in our knowledge Develop new and useful concepts Develop new and useful concepts Develop research methods Develop research methods Take into account the reality of adults lives Take into account the reality of adults lives Identify weaknesses or contradictions in policy and strategy. Identify weaknesses or contradictions in policy and strategy. The research programme should provide opportunities for practitioners as well as professional researchers. (p 37) The research programme should provide opportunities for practitioners as well as professional researchers. (p 37)

3 Why practitioner action research? There are two essential aims to action research: to improve and to involve. Action research aims at improvement in three areas: first the improvement of practice; second the improvement of the understanding of the practice by its practitioners; and third, the improvement of the situation in which the practice takes place (Carr and Kemmis, p165) (original emphasis). There are two essential aims to action research: to improve and to involve. Action research aims at improvement in three areas: first the improvement of practice; second the improvement of the understanding of the practice by its practitioners; and third, the improvement of the situation in which the practice takes place (Carr and Kemmis, p165) (original emphasis).

4 So PLAR….. enables practitioners, i.e. those actively engaged in ALN work, to identify and enquire into real problems or issues that they encounter in the course of their work, enables practitioners, i.e. those actively engaged in ALN work, to identify and enquire into real problems or issues that they encounter in the course of their work, develops practitioners capacity to critically question their experience and reflect upon their actions, develops practitioners capacity to critically question their experience and reflect upon their actions, moves beyond the functional or behaviourist and links practice to its underpinning theory in that it not only uses theory to question practice but it also uses practice to question and inform theories, moves beyond the functional or behaviourist and links practice to its underpinning theory in that it not only uses theory to question practice but it also uses practice to question and inform theories, is accessible to and usable by other practitioners in similar situations. is accessible to and usable by other practitioners in similar situations.

5 Aims of the 1 st Project To build on, investigate, document and learn from good practice in Scotland To build on, investigate, document and learn from good practice in Scotland To investigate areas where providers and practitioners face challenges in engaging learners in quality ALN provision To investigate areas where providers and practitioners face challenges in engaging learners in quality ALN provision To contribute to the development of a culture of critical reflection and action research in ALN work nationally. To contribute to the development of a culture of critical reflection and action research in ALN work nationally. By: By: Preparing the practitioner/researchers to do the research, i.e. providing initial training on the nature of research, and the practicalities of conducting practitioner-led research in the field. Preparing the practitioner/researchers to do the research, i.e. providing initial training on the nature of research, and the practicalities of conducting practitioner-led research in the field. Compiling collective reflections on the process of practitioner research that would both enable practitioners to support their colleagues to engage in similar work, and also to be disseminated further afield. Compiling collective reflections on the process of practitioner research that would both enable practitioners to support their colleagues to engage in similar work, and also to be disseminated further afield.

6 Structure of the Project 10 – 11 months duration 10 – 11 months duration 4 x joint workshops looking at ALN theory and research methodology 4 x joint workshops looking at ALN theory and research methodology Local support meetings between workshops Local support meetings between workshops VLE site through Moodle for ongoing discussion, news, support materials and practitioners reflective diaries VLE site through Moodle for ongoing discussion, news, support materials and practitioners reflective diaries The potential accreditation of the research The potential accreditation of the research

7 The Projects Young People and Access to FE Young People and Access to FE Health Workers and Literacy Health Workers and Literacy ALN for Profoundly Deaf Adults ALN for Profoundly Deaf Adults ALN referrers in an NHS project ALN referrers in an NHS project Routes into learning Routes into learning Family Literacies Family Literacies

8 Findings (Engaging New Adults in Learning) Encouraging Adults into learning Encouraging Adults into learning –Outreach and relationships –Integrated learning –Understanding of lives and responsive provision –awareness raising –Interagency working Supporting Adults in their learning Supporting Adults in their learning –Embedded learning –metacognition –Progression routes –Collaborative learning –Initial time limited programmes –Specialist help in some circumstances

9 Doing Practitioner Research: What We Have learned? The practitioners were keen on and committed to the research, because of its value in improving their practice The practitioners were keen on and committed to the research, because of its value in improving their practice That sustaining it with no concomitant reduction in workload is exceptionally difficult. That sustaining it with no concomitant reduction in workload is exceptionally difficult. That ongoing training and support are crucial, and that support gatherings should be more frequent than they were, - though this poses even more time/workload problems. That ongoing training and support are crucial, and that support gatherings should be more frequent than they were, - though this poses even more time/workload problems. That more front end training should be provided in research methodologies and time given for the cycle of praxis. That more front end training should be provided in research methodologies and time given for the cycle of praxis. On-line communication spaces are not an effective substitute for face to face contact. On-line communication spaces are not an effective substitute for face to face contact. That it is very difficult to maintain reflective journals on top of doing research and peoples ordinary jobs. That it is very difficult to maintain reflective journals on top of doing research and peoples ordinary jobs. That time and effort should be given to the continuance of a) these research projects for the incorporation of the action/evaluation elements, and b) new research projects so that capacity in the field can grow. That time and effort should be given to the continuance of a) these research projects for the incorporation of the action/evaluation elements, and b) new research projects so that capacity in the field can grow.


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