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Here are some of the ways Literacies and literacy workers crossed fences to mobilize knowledge, wisdom and professional judgment.

Oral History Projects

Literacies has supported a range of oral history projects. The projects document lives lived in literacy—people who contributed to the field but whose contributions are largely undocumented. We want to produce video, audio and print documentation that can be used on the web site, in the journal, to create a CD-ROM and, eventually, as part of a book.

Under the current grant, Literacies is not funded for oral history projects but we will be seeking other funding for this imortant work.

Click on the Oral History tab or the links below to see the projects.

Learners in Action:
how learners worked on the Canada Literacy Act
Labour of Love: how the labour movement, industry and literacy worked together in British Columbia arrow
Culture, Literacy and Health: how health care workers and educators in Sheshatshiu work across cultures and linguistic traditions arrow

We are also collecting a series of stories called Crazy Wisdom Stories (click on the crazy wisdom tab).The term crazy wisdom comes from Tibet via an essay by Tom Robbins in Harper’s, September 2004. We use it to refer to the intuitive, authentic, vernacular (home-grown) innovations and practices of literacy workers as they break away from conventionsto reap exciting learning rewards for themselves and the learners with whom they work.

Writer Animation Projects

"We need to express our hard-earned understandings so that we can dialogue with policy-makers and theorists, build community and thrive…We can better support our learners and ourselves if we use our own literacy abilities to shape this work that we love."   —  Sheila Stewart

In order to meet the objective of encouraging and supporting writers from a diversity of experiences and backgrounds and cultivating writership among literacy and adult education workers, Literacies has supported projects to animate writing from literacy practitioners. Animation includes workshops, working with project developers to include animation as part of their projects, and working with authors and artists, as individuals and collectives, to create content for Literacies and spread the word about their work, knowledge and understanding. What we hear from practitioner-authors is that the biggest barrier to participating in Literacies is time. We needs to support these writers in a way that alleviates that pressure...and of course, one of those ways is with money.

Under the current grant, Literacies is not funded for writer animation projects but we will be seeking other funding for this imortant work.

Click on the links below to see the results of some of our animation projects:

Writer Animation Workshop Series

To see an example of the work produced at one such workshop, click here arrow. (Or click on the Crazy Wisdom tab and choose Nova Scotia.)

The following are articles created through the writer animation project.
Reflections on a Research and Practice Gathering arrow
Summer of Hope arrow
A Note from the North arrow
A Conversation from Parkdale Project Read arrow
Rethinking Assessment arrow
Skunk Girl Goes to School arrow
Collaborating to do Research arrow
Research and Practice on Two Sides of the Atlantic arrow
Naturally Connected arrow

Web Forum, Web Site and New Media Projects

The web site receives an average of 1,000 hits per month. Our first web forum attracted over sixty participants and the numbers continue to grow with each session. The forum participants use articles posted on the web site to inform the discussion. The web forum discussion is facilitated by people with a background of research and practice in the topic. The forum is technically supported (lists, archives, outreach, collection and posting of resources) by the staff at Literacies and the National Adult Literacy Database.

Our survey of forum participants told us that they:

  • are committed to professional development;
  • see the value of research in practice;
  • see the value of online communication; and
  • use internet as professional development resource.

Eighty-five percent of those surveyed said that Literacies and the web forum helps them to meet their professional development goals, and here is how:

  • I would not have been able to participate in this level of dialogue in any other forum I can think of.  Even at conferences, time runs out as you get in the meat of things. I like being able to ruminate over the ideas and not HAVE to respond.
  • It continued and deepened the level of understanding of the issue.
  • I appreciated hearing analyses from people who I think are well informed and capable of analyzing and using data.
  • By putting me in touch with others working in the field.  By allowing me to know what others are doing.

And here is what they said about participating in the forum:

  • The great job the facilitators did in summarizing key concepts.  I will return to those archives if needed.
  • The number of active diverse participants who thoughtfully took time to share on line.
  • Opportunity to hear different points of view that must be considered. The contributions were very thought provoking and enormously useful.
  • Confirmation that the issues are complex, there is no one solution and that there are many committed and passionate people out there!

As the content of the web site grows, we must create, develop and maintain the databases that make these resources accessible. As participation on the web forums grows, we want to respond by expanding the interactivity and frequency of this community-building professional development opportunity.

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