On January 31, the Festival of Literacies submitted a letter in response to the Ontario government's consultation process for adult education. The letter was the result of a series of online and phone discussions among seven of us: Phylicia D., Paula E., Audrey G., Annie L., Tracey M., Judy P., and Christine P.-J. Although we started emailing each other as soon as we saw the announcement of the consultation process in December, we remarked on the challenge with the end-of-year timing and the long list of 27 consultation questions. We decided to focus specifically on the questions around the competency framework and how it would mean to adult literacy learners in Ontario. The three-page letter we wrote (see link below) could not fully capture the extent of our broad and in-depth discussion; however, we were mindful of how much attention span government policy analysts could give to each response. So we opted for a tight and focused response. This was emailed on the deadline of January 31. So far, we haven't even seen any acknowledgement of receipt. We shall see...
Please register for Digital Opportunities and Barriers for Ontario's Disconnected Adults on Nov 14, 2017 3:00 PM EST at:
Wondering what the research says about equitable digital access and learning opportunities for the adults we work with?
AlphaPlus recently completed a comprehensive report (available here) focused on equitable access to technology for all Ontarians. During the webinar, Christine Pinsent-Johnson, one of the authors of the report, will share some highlights and a few takeaways that programs may find useful as they develop their own digital literacy workshops, courses and overall strategies.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Further information available from AlphaPlus --> click here.
Christine Pinsent-Johnson posted her analysis of the administrative burden in the literacy and basic skills program in Ontario based on the recently released evaluation report.
Hello Friends of the Festival of Literacies
We would like to thank everyone who came out to the supper meeting on May 17. We had a great conversation about research and practice in adult literacy. Once we have our notes prepared, they will be posted on our website. Speaking of notes, the notes from our Nov11 event are finally up on the website. Please go check them out!
We would also like to let you know that practitioners and researchers who have an interest in adult literacy are invited to come to a very informal networking event at OISE. It is part of one of the pre-conference events organized by the Canadian Association for the Study in Adult Education (you might also be interested to know that there's a panel talking about Freire in the same room at 5PM after the networking event). Although the Festival of Literacies is not the organizer for this event, we thought some of you might be interested. There is no program set for the event; and people are encouraged to come and mingle. Details for the networking event are below:
Date: May 27, 2017 (Saturday)
Time: 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Location: Room 5-250 on the 5th floor at OISE
Registration: No need to register; just show up.
'Whose Goals Am I Meeting?' Policy and PracticeDilemmas in Adult Basic Education (ABE) in theEra of Accountability
A new PhD dissertation from Alma Hallulli Biba at the University of Massachusetts Boston, which you can access in its entire through this link here.
For the last two decades, federal legislation and Massachusetts’ state ABE policies
have linked adult learners’ educational outcomes to performance systems and
accountability requirements. These outcomes, represented as ‘goals’, reflect an emphasis
on return-on-investment strategies and outcome-based accountability measures. Greatest
emphasis is placed on that subset of adult learners’ goals that are easily measured,
attainable, and that are associated with public outcomes. This dissertation, in contrast,
seeks to understand the goal setting process from the perspective of learners and local ABE
stakeholders. Using a novel, mixed-method approach, this dissertation presents ABE
learners’ goal setting as a decision problem in order to reveal and disentangle the
conflicting preferences fueled by outcome-based accountability requirements.
The study consists of two thematically related components. A descriptive phase
explores internal and external determinants that influence learner goal setting. Findings
from this phase inform the exploratory stage of the study, in which I apply a decision
analytic framework to identify ABE learners’ and teachers’ preferences and gain insights
into stakeholder involvement.
This study contributes to both the scholarly literature and practice and policy
related to adult basic education by assisting the debate on policies that promote mutual or
multiple stakeholders’ accountability, involving discussions on how learners’ perspectives
can drive performance at the local level. The study demonstrates that the ABE goal setting
problem is amenable to decision analysis, and that findings derived from application of
specific decision-analytic methods aid in identifying stakeholder preferences and gain
insights into stakeholder involvement. Findings generated by this study provide a useful
addition to the growing literature of decision modeling in education. Additionally, it has
opened new avenues for comparative research in ABE across states to examine the
relationship between implementation of local accountability policies and learners’ goal
In 2016, a new edited book on adult literacy was published by Sense Publications. The book is called "Beyond Economic Interests: Critical Perspectives on Adult Literacy and Numeracy in a Globalised World". It was edited by Keiko Yasukawa and Stephen Black (both from the University of Technology Sydney). The book critiques the increasingly heavy emphasis on the economic benefits of adult literacy and presents counter-arguments to the narrow economic focus. Tannis Atkinson and Nancy Jackson published their review of the book in Literacy and Numeracy Studies. You can access the entire book review through this link.
A recent article was published in the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy talking about a potentially helpful approach for older readers to improve their reading capability. With the goals of word recognition accuracy and automaticity, the authors found Read Two Impress a potentially useful method for older learners with the combination of repeated readings and neurological impress method. The tutor reads a text out loud with the learner and then adjusts the pace to be slightly ahead of the learner. Then, the learner reads the text by himself; the tutor looks for expression similar to the way she has sounded. Finally, the process is focused on chunks of text and is repeated several times a week for about 20-30 minutes each time.
Reference: Ortlieb, E., & Young, C. (2016). Never too old: A how-to guide for developing adult readers' oral reading skills. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 60(2), 213-216.
Abstract: Despite efforts to promote literacy in the early years, millions of people in the United States and countless more abroad are functionally illiterate. The importance of improving adult literacy proficiency is unquestionable; however, the pedagogical approaches to support this monumental undertaking have been scarcely researched. Moreover, the nature of what constitutes literacy today is ever changing. This article introduces a practical approach for teachers/tutors to support adult literacy improvement through using specific strategies such as Read Two Impress.
Access the article here (a fee is required)
As you may know, I like to knit and I like adult literacy too. Parkdale Project Read is a small community-based literacy organization in Toronto that I've supported for quite a few years and we're holding a knit-a-thon as a fundraising event.
Yes, we'll be knitting all day! Come down and support us at 1209 King St. W. here in Toronto or make a donation here: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/pages/purl-purl-read-ppr-knit-a-thon-30th-anniversary--3/
The Festival of Literacies is planning to produce occasional podcasts on the topic of adult literacy. If you have suggestions on what you'd like to hear on these podcasts, please let us know through the comments section or send us an email at FestivalofLiteracies@gmail.com.
Please stay tuned for more to come later on.