23 SES 08 C, Global / Local Conversations about Adult Literacy Research
Global financial crises that wreak havoc on individual lives. Poor health conditions among individuals and populations attributed to causes as varied as literacy competence and climate change. Skilled migration or enforced refugee movement generating mobility, opportunity and discordant employment and resettlement experiences. Urban renewal projects with contradictory goals of community regeneration and gentrification. These and many others storylines are part of the complex arrangements shaping adult literacy language and numeracy (ALLN) research and practice.
This symposium offers an occasion for dialogue about how ‘calculative regimes’ (Singh and Li 2004), as dominant global discourses, shape the thinking and reporting of ALLN research and practice. As Dorothy Smith (1999) argues, thinking and reporting on everyday practices within a field involves negotiating tensions between activist practices, the ‘politics of the ivory tower’ (p. 26) and dominant discourses of supranational assessment practices (OECD and Human Resources Development Canada, 1997; OECD and Statistics Canada, 1995, 2000; Statistics Canada & OECD 2005). This symposium explores these tensions through a broadly conceived ‘social practice’ theoretical lens (Hamilton and Hillier 2006; Belfiore, Defoe, Folinsbee, Hunter and Jackson 2004; Shore 2009). As researchers our approaches differ somewhat but we each recognise that ‘literacy-in-use’ and ‘meanings-in-use’ (Jackson 2004) are important organizing principles in investigating notions of adult literacy provision.
The discourses embedded in OECD discourses of literacy and the ‘survey talk’ practices generated by them (cf Shore 2009; Druine and Wildemeersch 2000) anchor ALLN practices in labour-market competencies. This has flow on effects in terms of the aims and purposes of national literacy policies and so also local teaching and learning practices for different student and educator constituencies. The effects of ‘calculative regimes’ and local accounting practices is evident in the increasing visibility of labour-market agreements within and across many levels of government (national provincial/state and local); in mandatory requirements to participate in training if in receipt of government benefits and in reporting practices that extend the influence of pedagogical achievements (student progress) to completion payments for government teaching contracts. Many of these practices generate low trust as well as marginalisation of local knowledges among learners/workers (Jackson 2005), educators (Harreveld 2006) and indeed between researchers (Singh and Li 2004) as each is drawn in to a common language of essential skills and required to report complex social and political learning in leaned down neoliberal accounts of ‘progress’.
The symposium presents research from three countries, United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia, with a view to generating conversations across borders – geographic, cultural, political, disciplinary and sectoral. The studies draw from a conceptual ‘toolkit’ that recognises the enduring similarities and continuities in dominant educational polices and so too how issues such as policy studies, worker literacy and prevocational training and pathways to further study are sites for making some sense of the similarities and differences within these sites.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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