Briefly Noted

by Maria Moriarty

graphic of Inviting Learning book cover

Willis, Peter
Inviting Learning: An exhibition of risk and enrichment in adult education practice
London. NIACE. 2002

Inviting Learning takes us on an intriguing journey, which the author describes as an “accompanied, walk-through exhibition”. The study uses an expressive, or arts-based, research approach to develop textual forms that portray rather than explain seven key episodes in his adult education practice. Each episode is presented as an installation composed of ‘panels’, each of which contains an anecdote from Willis’ practice, a poetized reflection on the experience, and two related panels in which the author seeks to ‘intuit’ and ‘distil’ the experience using metaphorical language. The study is an attempt to present adult education practice as a lived experience and to reveal the sense of risk, engagement and adventure experienced by the author in his work in adult education, and which he finds missing from the majority of texts that set out to describe or explain adult education and adult learning.

Taylor, Denny (ed.)
Many Families, Many Literacies: An international declaration of principles
Portsmouth, NH. Heinemann Trade. 1997

This is a collection of articles written by family literacy practitioners, researchers and academics from around the world, examining the dominant approaches in family literacy. The articles critically review and challenge the assumptions, stereotypes and slogans – particularly those that seek to perpetuate beliefs about undereducated families as the source of many educational and social problems – upon which these approaches are often based. Authors include Adele Thomas, Elsa Auerbach, David Barton and Brian Street. Many Families, Many Literacies provides an interesting starting point from which to examine current government initiatives such as No Child Left Behind in the U.S. and the Early Years initiative in Ontario, and points out the need to critically review the assumptions, intentions, and goals of such initiatives.

graphic of Many Families, Many Literacies book cover

graphic of Open to Interpretation book cover

Kallenbach, Silja & Julie Viens
Open to Interpretation: Multiple intelligences theory in adult literacy education NCSALL Reports No. 21
Cambridge, MA. National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy (NC SALL). 2002

Open to Interpretation reports on The Adult Multiple Intelligences (AMI) Study, which examined the application of multiple intelligences theory in a variety of adult learning sites and settings. The study consisted of two linked qualitative research projects. The first consisted of 10 studies conducted by teachers and facilitated by the AMI co-directors. The second was a study across the 10 sites and settings conducted by the AMI co-directors. Methods included on-site observations, qualitative interviews and teacher journals. This exploratory qualitative study affirms the usefulness of multiple intelligences theory in adult literacy education, and points to the need for future research focused on how learners gain from practice based on multiple intelligences.

Smith, Christine, Mary Beth Bingman, Judy Hofer, Patsy Medina
Connecting Practitioners and Researchers: An Evaluation of NCSALL’S Practitioner Dissemination and Research Network.
Cambridge, MA. National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy (NCSALL). 2002

The Practitioner Dissemination Research Network was created to support systematic partnerships between adult literacy practitioners and university researchers that would enhance the connections between adult literacy research and practice in the United States. The report reviews the work of the network between 1997 and 2001. Fourteen Practitioner Leaders, adult basic education teachers in fourteen states, worked with NCSALL to identify programs to serve as research sites in which practitioners would be supported to do research. The Practitioner Leaders conducted their own research related to NCSALL work, and organized study circles which presented NCSALL research to practitioners and encouraged practitioners to apply new theories in their literacy practice. Based on the project and contrary to established opinion, NC SALL discovered that practitioners had a strong interest in conducting research, in having opportunities to learn about new research findings and in applying new theories in their practice.

graphic of Connecting Practitioners and Researchers book cover

graphic of The Give and Take book cover

Mace, Jane
The Give and Take of Writing: Scribes, literacy and everyday life
London. NIACE. 2002

Jane Mace has written a thought-provoking reflection on how those who are “literate” – particularly those of us whom she describes as “literacy addicts” – imagine and describe those who are not. Using examples from film and literature she reveals the relative poverty of that imagination and description. As Mace notes, “...there is much said about the limited lives of illiterate people and very little, outside the world of academic research, that shows illiteracy as different, rather than wrong.” The book is a refreshing examination of the role of scribe, a copyist as opposed to the composer, as means to understand that literacy and illiteracy are in fact relative, and that the assumptions that underlie the deficit model of literacy – as well as the more polite, but equally destructive, assumption of illiteracy as disadvantage – ignore the social context of literacy and the lived realities of those who have been defined as illiterate.

View in PDF (320k)

Return to the table of contents

placeholder placeholder placeholder
Valid HTML 4.01! Valid CSS! placeholder Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License