23 SES 13 B, Global and Comparative Perspectives on Adult Learning, Literacy and Numeracy Strategies
In Portugal, until 2013, large numbers of adults had access to written culture, through processes of Recognition, Validation and Certification of Prior Learnings (RVCC), in the scope of the New Opportunities programme - one of the most representative cases of Portuguese initiatives to include adults in formal education, that way answering social and economic challenges. These ‘new opportunities” for learning are ideal situations for understanding how participation in these processes acts in the transformation of the literate identities of people and how, in their life trajectories, it reflects opportunities and constraints impacting on the ways adults use, access and value texts (Barton, Hamilton, & Ivanic, 2000; Barton, Ivanic, Appleby, Hodge, & Tusting, 2007; Dionísio, Castro, & Arqueiro, 2013). Challenging representations and global data (OECD, 2008) about the position in the community of adults without or with scarce schooling, frequently considered “socially excluded” (Hamilton & Pitt, 2011, p. 350) and suffering from the disease of “illiteracy” (Lahire, 1999), the goals of this text are: to contribute with empirical data to the deeper comprehension of the individual life story of adults that had to go back to school, showing how the involvement in formal learning situations transform vernacular literacy practices and identities, driving changes in the way adults use, access and value texts; and secondly, to characterize some factors that enhance or not the continuation of such literacy practices after the completion of the process. From the combination of data collected by questionnaire and interviews, I characterize the learning trajectories and the literacy narratives of six adults from Braga, Portugal, which, in 2013, completed the Basic Level of the RVCC process. I also discuss descriptive data concerning the specificities of the adults literacy practices, particularly regarding the whats, the whys and wherefores, and under what circumstances they read and write, and will keep reading and writing, throughout their lives (Silva, Dionísio, & Cunha, 2017). Among the key findings, it is possible to conclude that by means of these 'new opportunities', adults not only acquired a certificate but, mainly, added to their learning biographies personal and socially relevant literacy practices. Together with very particular views on their learning biographies, these adults’ textual worlds became more diverse and specialized. In any of the cases, the frequency of these education processes contributed, in effect, to add to the adults’ identity kits (Gee, 1996) the traits and values that literate communities give to reading and writing.
Barton, D., Hamilton, M., & Ivanic, R. (2000). Situated Literacies. Reading and Writing in Context. London/New York: Routledge. Barton, D., Ivanic, R., Appleby, Y., Hodge, R., & Tusting, K. (2007). Literacy, lives and learning. London/New York: Routledge. Dionísio, M. L., Castro, R. V., & Arqueiro, A. S. (2013). Literacies in the workplace. Social conditions, practices and meanings. In D. Masny (ed.), Cartographies of Becoming in Education: A Deleuze-Guattari Perspective (pp. 111-125). Roterdam: Sense Publishers. Gee, J. P. (1996). Social linguistics and literacies: Ideology in discourses. London: Taylor & Francis. Hamilton, M., & Pitt, K. (2011). Challenging representations: constructing the adult literacy learner over 30 years of policy and practice in the United Kingdom. Reading Research Quarterly, 46(4), (pp. 350-373). Lahire, B. (1999). L’invention de l’illettrisme: rhétorique publique, éthique et stigmates. Paris: La Découverte. OECD (2008). OECD. Economic Surveys: Portugal. Volume 2008/9, June. Paris: OECD. Silva, A. C., Dionísio, M. L., & Cunha, J. (2017). Literacy practices in adult learning biographies: Possibilities and Constraints. In B. Merrill, A. Galimberti, A. Nizinska, J. Gonzalez- Monteagudo (Eds.) Continuity and Discontinuity in Learning Careers: Potentials for a Learning Space in a Changing World (pp. 169-177). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
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