Houghton, Gaye (2010)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
This research identifies the assumptions underpinning Different discourses about literacy and investigates their impact on the professional values of adult literacy Practitioners. Four key discourses are identified, ‘Literacy as skills’, ‘literacy as an experiential process’, ‘literacy as a social practice’, and ‘literacy as a critical transformation process’. The research explores the philosophical roots of these different discourses, and also those of the different learning theories which act as a framework for the teaching and learning of literacy. Informed by a postmodern perspective, based on Lyotard’s (1984) concepts of ‘meta-narratives’, ‘little narratives’, ‘language games’, and ‘the differend’, the research ‘brings life’ to the literacy discourses by using the ‘professional narratives’ of adult literacy practitioners as data. These are presented as a number of individual case studies. The findings clearly indicate that the ‘literacy-as-skills’ discourse, imposed by policy-makers and now embedded in the power structures of educational institutions, is not supported by this particular group of research participants, who are strongly orientated towards the ‘literacy as a social practice’ and the ‘literacy as an experiential process’ approaches.
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