23 SES 08 C, Global / Local Conversations about Adult Literacy Research
This paper draws from a larger project (Shore 2009) on adult literacy capacity building across education providers in an Australian local government area designated for substantial urban renewal. In workplaces, community and child-care centres and TAFE institutes literacy provision was a shape-shifting phenomenon taken up differently in the “moment-by-moment ways in which people take hold of literacy for themselves, to serve their own purposes and needs” (Hamilton, 2006). This applied as much to providers and ‘street level bureaucrats’ (Lipsky in Hamilton and Hillier, 2006) as it did to those enrolled in adult learning programs. Prompted by responses from learner surveys (N=263) I explore the views of learners who argue that time and money are overwhelmingly important to them in making decisions about learning. Analysis of data suggests the gendered and economic minutiae of everyday life noted by residents are often glossed over as centralised systems of accountability determine what counts in official versions of educational practice (Jackson 2005). The implications of these insights are important for learning in regions targeted for urban renewal if residents with ‘rudimentary literacy skills’ (Ministry of Industry and OECD 2005) are to remain living in areas which have strong inter-generational, employment and historical ties.
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