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Adult Literacy discourses, their philosophical origins and their impact: case studies of the values and assumptions of practitioners

Houghton, Gaye (2010)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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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.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Peim, Nick (1952-) and Martin-Jones, Marilyn
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:School of Education
Subjects:LC Special aspects of education
LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:735
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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