Friday, November 9, 2007

richness, inspiration and hope

Thanks to everyone who took part in this forum, either by reading or commenting. Three weeks have flown by, and we have certainly had a rich discussion!

Many people spoke of the powerful, not necessarily financial, rewards of this work. Those gifts keep people committed to adult literacy and are appealing to young people who are starting to see their place in literacy work.

We've also spent some time exposing some of the structures and systems that threaten to undermine the amazing work people are doing coast to coast to coast. As a wonderful antidote to those pressures, people shared their dreams of Places to Learn..."just like we have hockey rinks and playgrounds and walking trails and libraries and swimming pools and tourist information centres and..."

Let's keep talking to each other, and dreaming of the future we'd like to see. Please consider typing up those thoughts and sharing them through Literacies!

Meanwhile, we need to know how this blog worked for you.

Please fill in our very short evaluation by clicking here.
You can also follow the link on the menu on the right...
When you are done, send an email to journal [at] literacy [dot] ca. Include one of the questions (not your answer) in your message. We will send you a token of our appreciation.

Thanks again!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

is there a next generation?

On this forum we've heard about the wide discrepancies between working conditions. In some parts of the country practitioners are paid $11.50 an hour for 30 to 35 weeks of the year, while in others college instructors are paid $78,000 a year. The disparities reflect the reality of federalism, which allows each jurisdiction to decide how it will support, or neglect, adult literacy.

Despite the limits of federalism, literacy workers have been thinking strategically. Some people believe that if adult literacy workers were accredited, the work would be taken more seriously which would lead to increases in program funding.

Others point out that governments only respond to power. They argue that the only way to have literacy work recognized and supported is to unionize -- a truly mammoth undertaking given 13 jurisdictions with their own school boards, community colleges, workplace programs and community programs.

What do you think? Would either strategy build support for literacy work?

If we don't find a way to build an infrastructure, is there a future for literacy work?

Who are the next generation of literacy workers? Where are they?

How will they enter the field, and what will encourage them to stay?

Given the growing emphasis on evidence-based performance measures, is literacy work in danger of being overrun by outcomes, worksheets and teaching to the test?

What can we do to teach future generations of literacy workers about the human side of literacy work?

Please share your dreams about how we can build a better future for literacy work.

P.S. Don't forget to answer our new poll ---->>>

Monday, November 5, 2007

places to learn

Good morning – JUST!

So glad that you could join us for this rather late breakfast. Brunch on a Monday? Luxury!

"So there need to be places to learn. ..."

"I was following your argument right up to the places to learn part, and then I started to drift... yeah... places to learn, I thought. Just like we have hockey rinks and playgrounds and walking trails and libraries and swimming pools and tourist information centres and ... why don't we just Have places to learn?

(The answer to why is in the second part of your comments, of course.)"

Okay we know why. But what about what?
There are lots of allusions (illusions?)
to what these places would be like in the forum.

What would those places look like?

Would they be in stand-alone sites, or in libraries, or in multi-service agencies?

Would there be lots of books and lots of nutritious food and lots of quality daycare and lots of quiet places to study?

Would there be standardized tests?
performance based assessment?
competency based assessment?

Would everything be accessible to multiple points of entry?
Would they be organized horizontally or vertically?
Would learners ideas and experience be a part of
program planning and delivery?
Would everything be accessible to people with disabilities?

Would there be any stigma attached to coming to the literacy program?

Would there be any volunteers? What would they be doing?

Would the ‘teachers’ be accredited? certified? certifiable?
Would the ‘teachers’ be doing admin work? dishes? intake?
Would most of the teachers be women? white? middle-aged?

What do we dream of? What do we want to maintain and sustain?
What do we want to try?

You don't have to address the whole range of elements, but let us know what dreams and plans and environments give you energy.

P.S. Check out our new poll question -->

Friday, November 2, 2007

just desserts

Hi there forum people,

Thanks for the excellent conversation in week one and two. I feel that I am dropping in and out of a fantastic dinner party where everybody speaks their mind from a place of deep wisdom and wide experience.

In some face-to-face chats (remember those?) with some forum readers, we have heard about planned responses and contributions. We hope those people can take their place at our table soon. We miss you.

Next week is the last week of the forum - so rest up over the weekend and then join us for breakfast Monday morning (GMT -5) with all your good ideas and opinions.

I know that it is hard to compose our deep thoughts in the tiny little comment box but jump in and let us know:

your pals @ Literacies

P.S. If you click on the post titles a new page will open with only that post and all the comments below - sometimes it is easier to follow the threads that way.