Literacy and Lifelong Learning Seminar – London 18th November

WEAVING LITERACY THROUGH LIFELONG LEARNING

18th November in London, UK, with Dr Ulrike Hanemann of UIL

On Friday 18th November, BALID (the British Association for Literacy in Development) will be hosting a seminar in central London entitled ‘Weaving literacy through lifelong learning’. Our keynote speaker, Dr Ulrike Hanemann, of UNESCO’s Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) will address the topic Promoting lifelong learning: incorporating multi-sector approaches to literacy’.

The seminar will last from 10.30–16.15 and will be chaired by Prof Alan Tuckett, past president of the International Council for Adult Education. It is aimed at practitioners, academics, NGOs, students and policy makers in the fields of literacy and lifelong learning and will provide a forum for multi-sectoral dialogue exploring the role of literacy in enhancing lifelong learning. More details are explained in the attached outline programme.

In international education thinking, the concept of lifelong learning is well established, focusing on the promotion of learning opportunities of varied kinds for people of all ages with a view to unlocking their potential to live fulfilled lives as individuals and as members of their societies. However, much work remains to be done to develop a full understanding of how literacy is located within lifelong learning – a task which is complicated by the dominance of the traditional concept of literacy learning as involving only the mastery of basic reading and writing skills.

Through the day we will be exploring literacy within the context of international development agendas, especially the Education 2030 Framework for Action.  There will be opportunities to hear examples of innovative practice from resource-poor contexts and to take part in interactive sessions on the role of literacy in lifelong learning.

Fees

Standard booking fee:  £80

Members fee (UCL Institute of Education or BALID):  £60

Unwaged:  £30

Please secure your place as soon as possible since numbers are limited. Both find the booking form, poster and the outline programme are also downloadable from the BALID website.

We look forward to welcoming you to a richly stimulating day. The planned venue is near Euston and will be confirmed shortly.

Posted on behalf of Ian Cheffy

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Escaping a ‘study skills’ approach to academic writing

As a part time doctoral student living in South Wales, I really appreciated the chance to share my on-going research into student writing in teacher education at a Literacy Research Discussion Group meeting last month.
Part of my research involves exploring the attitudes and practices of teacher educators and mature adult teachers-in-training regarding academic writing for university qualifications (PGCEs etc). I am using focus group and interview discussions, and the analysis of my own practice in writing tutorials with student teachers, to do this (see slides).
I have, however, noticed a kind of ‘slipperiness’ in some of my teacher educator focus group data. Discussions about student writing that start off as broader considerations of language practices can easily slip into an exchange about Standard English or referencing conventions. In the data from my writing tutorials too, my students and I talk about these surface technicalities far more than I had hoped or planned for. Even at the LRDG meeting (that bastion of literacy as social practice!) we occasionally started to slide in that direction (this was probably my fault…) Such ‘slippage’ demonstrates the powerful pull of a prescriptivist, ‘study skills’ approach to academic writing. Standard English and referencing style are relatively easy for any tutor to describe and therefore assess, and perhaps that is the allure!
However, focussing on these elements of academic writing means a skills-based hierarchy is set up where the tutor owns the ‘rule book’ that the student has to follow. When trying to develop student writing in teacher education, such positions do not facilitate a supportive, dialogic discussion where the teacher-in-training is able to bring their life experiences (inside and outside the classroom) into their developing writing identity.
So, in order to escape the gravitational pull of ‘study skills’, I want to investigate the writing practices and writing identities of teachers-in-training outside their university courses. The idea is that if I can better understand and value the wider writing lives of our teachers-in-training, I can better develop the constructivist and dialogic writing pedagogy I aspire to (following Lillis 2001). A further inspiration for such an investigation is the Teaching and Learning Research Project which informed Ivanic et al (2009) (see http://www.tlrp.org/proj/phase111/ivanic.htm). This involved work with FE college tutors and students to explore students’ literacy worlds, engaging with everyday literacy practices to support and inform writing in college.
The LRDG audience were perhaps most interested in this aspect of my research, where teachers-in-training talk about their writing lives outside of university. Prompts for these discussions are simple laminated cards on which I have written various domains (friendships/relationships; leisure interests/hobbies etc). Student teachers are invited to select two or three cards which have interest or meaning for them, and to talk about the writing they do in those domains. The LRDG interest in this area of my research is very encouraging, as I’ve only recently realised that I want this to be at the heart of my doctoral project. I feel it’s only by looking outside the university that I can properly support student teachers within it.
IVANIC I., EDWARDS R., BARTON D., MARTIN-JONES M., FOWLER Z., HUGHES B., MANNION G., MILLER K., SATCHWELL C. & SMITH J. (2009) Improving learning in college: rethinking literacies across the curriculum London: Routledge
LILLIS T. (2001) Student Writing: Access, Regulation, Desire London: Routledge

By Rachel Stubley, University of South Wales and Lancaster University

http://www.slideshare.net/secret/zSfNztmyJ99GK5

 

On Remembrance Sunday: a commemoration of soldiers’ writing during the Great War

After 40 years of research Andrew Brooks has produced a wonderful book which is particularly timely to look at today: Postcard Messages from the Great War 1914-19.

book cover

It is a magnificent achievement and a unique and immensely touching book.  Brooks has not merely compiled and shared a huge collection of postcard messages, as interesting that would be, but has also gone to an immense effort to find out as much as he can about the soldiers and their circumstances.  His understanding of military postal history is immense, so he can interpret a great deal about from postmarks and censor marks.   The book is arranged loosely chronologically, and the reader is led from the optimism of the early volunteers through to terrible losses and some fortunate survivals.  The book is centred on postcards sent from and to British soldiers, often telling us a lot about their lives and families before and after their service.

postcard

 

From the Edwardian Postcard Project we know that many cards of the early twentieth century were commissioned from a photographer, to show a family, friendship or other group.   This is a ‘Pals’ battalion, volunteers recruited locally and promised they would serve with other men from the same region.  Here are men from  the 18th The King’s Liverpool Regiment, during their initial training while based at Hooton Park Racecourse.  The men are still in their civilian clothing.  The card is sent to Miss R Hazelwood, 126 Thornton Road, Bootle, Liverpool on Friday 6th November 1914.  The message reads,

“Dear Miss H,

Many thanks for Chocolate received this morning.  We are going for a 20 Mile Route March round Birkenhead tomorrow that is if I get my uniform

Best M”.

Another such group postcard from the 19th (‘Pals’) King’s Liverpool regiment was sent in 1915 by John Anderson Henry Downie to his mother at 67, Carisbroke Road, Walton, Liverpool.  The message reads:

“Dear Mother,

I duly received both parcels in good condition.  I thank you very much for them, they will provide extras for some time to come.  On the other side you will see some of competitors lined up for a 41/2 mile event at sports.  I am No. 231. In the background a large sports ground is seen.

Yours John.”

P59

In this case Andrew Brooks has been able to trace his fate in the 19th King’s Liverpool War Diary.  The 22nd January 1916 entry describes an event near Carnoy: “Bombardment on both sides. Minnenwerfer wrecked a dug-out, with the following casualties.  17322 L. Cpl. Downie killed.  17496 Pte. Whitehead seriously wounded…..”  Brooks has also traced Downie’s grave at the Carnoy Military Cemetrery on the Somme, row H grave 11.

Evidence of losses at such major battles as the Somme is also shown in postcards by others involved, occasionally revealing some involvement by women.  This card was sent to Miss Robertson, Union Bank House, George Street, Perth, Scotland from a French Auxiliary hospital on 31st July 1916 (the year of “The Big Push”):P83

“Dear Mary, Are you still at Rosebank: We are leading a very strenuous existence here and do what we can.  Can hardly copy with the rush – at least this was so till the last two days.  Things have quietened a bit but we rather think it is the lull before the storm. I love the life and the work.

I heard from Willie two days ago.  He is in the thick of it but safe and well.  Are your folks alright? Much love from Norah.”

This card by the well known postcard artist Donald McGill was sent on 12th February 1917 from Farnham, Surrey, by Arthur to his father Pte. A. Blackman, 37706, 7th Battalion Queens R.W.S. ‘D’ Com. Machine Gun Section, BEF France. P112

The message reads:

“Dear Dad just a line to say I hope you are all right glad to say I am feeling a bit better but don’t go to school yet Floss and Eeyore better hope you will be able to come home heaps of love and tons of kisses your loving boy Arthur.”

Brooks writes: “Sadly Lance Corporal Arthur Blackman, aged 39, the husband of E. Blackman of 12 Red Lion Square, Farnham, Surrey was killed in action on Saturday 23rd March 1918. He is buried in Chaumy Communal Cemetery, British Extension on the Ham to Chaumy road, Plot 4, Row B, Grave 14.”

Finally, another touching card from a training camp, this one from the 1st (Service) Battalion of the Guernsey regiment.  This was sent to Mrs Sophia Durnmont, Grande Rue, St. Saviour’s, Guernsey from her grandson then, Brooks deduces from the marks, from a camp near Canterbury.  The message reads:

“Dear Grandmother,

I am dropping you these few lines to let you know we have arrived safely at our new camp after one day and one night’s travelling, and a very dirty camp Dear Gran compared to those we had in Guernsey, but we’ll get used to it little by little I suppose.  Cheer up my little wife dear Gran when she’ll come home and tell he since it’s the call of duty it must be the will of the Almighty, hoping you are keeping quite well, as I am at present.  God keep us all till we meet again

With love to all From Walter.”P119

Andrew Brooks’ beautifully produced book: Postcard Messages from the Great War 1914-1919 is available from ebay for £20 and £2.80 postage.

Hans Nielsen Hauge: A catalyst of literacy in Norway

I’m fascinated by this article by Linda Haukland just published in the Scandinavian Journal of History.  Hans Nielsen Hauge was responsible for a movement spreading literacy (which entailed reading and writing in Danish at the time) in rural areas throughout Norway in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.  Despite persecution, Hauge succeeded in catalysing many activities involving literacies among working people, often without any formal education, including in isolated areas.  The homes of his followers became places where people could learn about the topics Hauge wrote about, springing from religion to embracing all sorts of everyday concerns.  Haukland shows how these new textually mediated opportunities to interact led to greater physical and social mobilities among the peasant communities.  Hauge himself travelled around from place to place, with books, texts and letters, and his followers, including women, wrote texts of their own and helped others to learn to read and write.

Anthropology of Writing book cover

Part of Haukland’s framing is the book The Anthropology of Writing edited by David Barton and Uta Papen.  You can download the first chapter of that book here.

Join the “Crowd Sourced” Research of Media coverage of the OECD International Survey of Adult Skills

The results of the OECD Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC) will be released on October 8th in all the countries that took part in the survey.
 
There is likely to be a large amount of media attention to these findings and it would be interesting to collect examples of media coverage that could be compared across countries. These examples might include local as well as national media reports in newspapers, broadcast and social media. They could be news or opinion items, such as editorials.
 
You are invited to post any examples of media coverage you come across to this blog. Simply go to  https://literacieslog.wordpress.com/ and  add a comment in reply to this post. If you know of other people who might like to join in, please circulate this message to them.
 
The questions are: How are the PIAAC results being reported and where? For example, which results are focused on: literacy, numeracy and/or problem solving – and which differences in results are highlighted: gender, age, regional, etc.?
  • What kinds of issues are being raised in the media in response to the results?
 Details of the media coverage to share:
As well as your own comments on these questions, please give:
 
  • the source, date and time and geographical location for each media item you post
  • links to newspaper articles or broadcast programmes
The postings from different countries will be collated at the end of the calendar year 2013 by the Lancaster Literacy Research Centre and an analysis will be carried out by a team led by Mary Hamilton (Lancaster University), Keiko Yasukawa (University of Technology, Sydney) and Jeff Evans (Middlesex University). This analysis will be posted onto the LRC blog site and details circulated to all participating centres, blogs and lists.
 
We look forward to hearing from you!