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Title: Meaningful Participation in Adult Second Language Literacy Programs
Contributor(s): Atkinson, Michael (author); Tamatea, Laurence (supervisor); Maxwell, Thomas W (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 2010
Copyright Date: 2009
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Abstract: Mainstream language literacy skills are increasingly important for linguistically marginalised communities. Agencies that run adult literacy programs for marginalised groups are increasingly questioning the concept of literacy and its application within the context of the social and economic lives of participants. Such concern is motivated by the need to ensure that the programs are meaningful for the participants and clearly related to their needs. From the point of view of these agencies, literacy programs need to focus on broader development goals in order to overcome the powerlessness and voicelessness often experienced by marginalised members of society. Consequently there is a need for the development of a research framework, which authentically portrays the meaningfulness of such programs. This research project explores the factors which contribute to the meaningful participation of learners within a literacy program from a socially meaningful perspective. It also develops a research methodology to capture these factors. Ideas are drawn from differing perspectives into literacy and social learning theory to highlight the broader links between literacy acquisition and social development. The methodology is applied to a literacy program in an ESL context with a group of humanitarian entrants from Africa who have acquired at best minimal literacy skills in their own language. The data reveal that meaningful participation emerges from a combination of complementary factors which may be broadly interpreted in terms of the acquisition of literacy skills, a sense of social belonging and connection and the development of cultural knowledge. These factors combine to create a sense of emerging identity as learners seek to participate more fully within the broader society and express their own sense of self. A research methodology incorporating participative and reflective methods is an effective approach for capturing the factors which contribute to meaningful participation.
Publication Type: Thesis Masters Research
Field of Research Codes: 139999 Education Not Elsewhere Classified
Rights Statement: Copyright 2009 - Michael Atkinson
HERDC Category Description: T1 Thesis - Masters Degree by Research
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