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EPALE

Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe

 
 

Discussion

EPALE Discussion: Adult literacy – what skills do adults need and what makes for an effective policy?

09/08/2017
by EPALE Moderator

/epale/en/file/literacy-discussion-epale-ebsnLiteracy Discussion EPALE EBSN

Literacy Discussion EPALE EBSN

 

As part of EPALE’s September focus on adult literacy, we would like to hear your views on what literacy skills adults need and what the success factors are for an effective national policy in this field.

The discussion is open to everyone and will take place on this page between 4-7 September 2017. It will be moderated by EPALE’s Thematic Coordinator for Life Skills, David Mallows in collaboration with our partners from the European Basic Skills Network (EBSN). This is a very lively discussion which is taking place over several pages. To go to the second page click here.  To go directly to the third page of discussion click here. Please make sure that you have perused all the discussion.

Feel free to comment or share your opinion on any of the following questions:

What kind of literacy skills do adults need in Europe in 2017?

  • What do we mean when we talk about 'adult literacy'? How does literacy relate to other basic skills?
  • What is the place of literacy in the context of Upskilling Pathways?
  • What needs improvement in literacy teaching and learning?

What are the success criteria for effective national policy in this field?

  • What are the main challenges (in your context) in supporting adults to improve their literacy?
  • How can we ensure that adequate investment is made in adult literacy education?

 

**The discussion has now been closed. You can still browse and read the community's comments.

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  • Rumen HALACHEV's picture

    Thank you everyone for this incredibly active and fruitful discussion. EPALE's aim is to provide a platform for adult learning professionals to exchange ideas, network and collaborate. If you want to continue this discussion on EPALE, we recommend that you create a community of practice on adult literacy. This is a great opportunity to discuss further topics and establish professional connections.

    Learn more about EPALE's Communities of Practice

    /epale/de/file/thank-you-0Thank you

  • Andrea Fenz's picture

    Dear Collegues, I am working as a trainer for German as a Foreign/Second language in a region in Austria.

    In the Adult Literacy project in 2013 we were coping e.g. with low reading skills in Austria which according to PIAAC study were partly linked also to migration.

    Upskilling pathways for asylum seekers often starts with alphabetisation classes. We see differences between learners who just have to learn the German characters and those who were illiterates at home. I did not understand in the first weeks that some could not read the translation that was projected onto the wall until I pressed the loudspeaker symbol or a collegue could read the word in Arabic or Farsi/Persian. Adult literacy is linked to basic education and indirectly also to problem solving competences when it comes to do exercises according to pre-defined schemes.

    Online learning with smart phones is encouraging. Easy videos with drawings, selected written words and spoken texts have worked best. There is a clear need for more videos that are suited for alphabetisation and A1 beginners classes. As a trainer we have to support the learners to find the right choice of online resources.

  • inez camilleri's picture

    Hello all.

    How encouraging to note all these inetresting and intriguing comments, information, ideas and suggestion. 

    I will tackle illiteracy from the perspective that adults per se  are not necessarily illiterate in reading/writing, but from the survival point of view, i.e. that of keeping "our heads above water" in a world that has become increasingly connected to technological advances, but forgetting the basic human needs.

    We all know of people who in the past(and even nowadays) weren't fortunate enough to either finish their education for reasons ranging from social,emotional,physical, mental or other similar isssues ; others in some parts of the world didn't/dont have access to education , or their culture(this especially applies to woman)bars them from doing so.

    Unless these people have their basic needs satisfied( Maslow's hierarchy of needs),immaterial of race, class,gender,or religion they will remain oblivious to the educational campaigns and services provided to the general public.

    These people need constant support to make them believe in themselves and that they count , a voice to represent them, physical and psychological help, monitoring and encouragement to say the least. Only when holistic support is offered, can they begin to move forward.

    Vulnerable people who fall into this category are migrants, single parents and women who are financially dependent on their male partners.Research shows that financial abuse is a tactic used by abusers to gain power and control.

    This vicious circle can only be broken thorough literacy, leading to gainful work , independence and personal growth.

    In Malta, thousands of Euros are dedicated every year towards Adult Literacy; progress has been noted, yet  the desired percentage has not yet been reached and the imbalance still persists.

    With regards to methodology and how teachers engage their adult learners,we need to be aware that there isn't a one size fits all learning style.Learners are individuals who range from kinestethic,visual, auditory or  conventional. It is not an easy task, but  by setting attainable SMART(  Specific,Measurable,Attainable,Relevant,Time-bound) goals, we can help make learning an adventure instead of a chore, building on and exploiting their skills and hidden talents.

    I conclude by posting a facebook link about the schooling system in Finland.

    Where To Invade Next (Finland Schools)

    Griffith University - Celebrate the Remarkable
     
    Comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated.
  • Ingrid Gran's picture

    Dear all, so many interesting comments and discussions! Being a former teacher in languages, this is great! Due to certain facts I could not continue my points of view, which I started earlier but I will just briefly explain what I meant by the example from Botkyrka Library south of Stockholm, Sweden. This was in 2014 and it was a Grundvig project. What was interesting here (the project was also highlighted as one of the best practices that year) was that so many people were involved and the inhabitants of this municipality were involved to a very high level. This from specific citizens, women in different ages to families with children and older people. Here some links to this event and to the project:

     

    https://www.facebook.com/events/498086770292797

     

    https://literacyforallnetwork.wordpress.com/tag/literacy-for-all-botkyrka-2014/

     

    https://www.ifla.org/node/8382

     

    http://www.bi-international.de/download/file/ReportUNESCO-BID.pdf

    Here some more info and a link to a project. I also consider you to go to the page for the European Language Label, where you can find many interesting projects on this theme!

    https://www.skolverket.se/om-skolverket/publikationer/visa-enskild-publikation?_xurl_=http%3A%2F%2Fwww5.skolverket.se%2Fwtpub%2Fws%2Fskolbok%2Fwpubext%2Ftrycksak%2FRecord%3Fk%3D3745

     

    https://www.facebook.com/ProjectLandofHope/posts/1171580872880746

  • Graciela Sbertoli's picture

    Dear all,

    Thank you very much for your very active participation. 

    The discussion will not be moderated beyond 20:00 CET today, but it will stay open and you can add your comments tonight or tomorrow. 

    David Mallows and I will attempt to set up a sort of summary of all the many themes that we have dealt with. 

    Stay connected!

    Graciela

  • Gátas-Aubelj Katalin Andrea's picture

    Dear Participants,

    I’m so glad to be part of this conversation and experience other points of views and opinions. My research topic is dyslexic adults in the higher education. With a growing number of dyslexic students in Hungary I think it is important to mention dyslexia in the connection with literacy.

    A skill profiles of the dyslexic students  and the teaching methods strongly influence their educational career and as a result of this success in their life.  I would like to mention hereby the relevant definiton of Carlos ("capacity to use information for daily life" ), because in my opinion it’s really matter how adults with special learning needs can use their literacy skills  in the everyday life. The professionals working with these people have a responsibility to maximize their success through their skills.

    My comment maybe reveal a different point of view, but I think we can discuss about literacy in other aspects as well. It is important for me to represent the interests of socially and culturally disadvantaged adults.

    Thank you for the interesting conversation and I hope we will follow up each other in the future. :) 

    Katalin Gatas-Aubelj from Budapest, Hungary

  • Graciela Sbertoli's picture

    It is on page 4. I am sure you will find it very interesting!

  • Graciela Sbertoli's picture

    Kedves Katalin, thank you so much for your contribution. I couldn't agree more. Dyslectic adults may only be a small part of the target group we are talking about, but their needs must be considered and adequate programs must be created. These learners will also very often need a very different type of training. Digital tools can be a big help!

    i hope other participants in this discussion can put you in touch with other dyslexia experts in other countries. It is indeed an issue that deserves attention!

  • Anne Rosenberg's picture

    I`m learning designer and I work every day with different texts on a computer, with young people and older adults…

    Today's literacy requires skill to navigate and click on the right place, more simple texts, excitement and attractiveness. Technology has changed life. It may be important to develop digital literacy and, with this, we can develop traditional literacy skills. Resources have changed.

    There is no time to think and understand, it is necessary to act all the time. :)

  • Graciela Sbertoli's picture

    Thank you for your input, Anne. I agree with you: digital tools can and should revolutionize the way we look at literacy training for adults. One of the ways in which it can do that, is through specific training apps. Now - there are many good apps for initial literacy for school kids. Those that are really designed for adults are very few. Any thoughts about this?