Literacy learning and global development
|Date:||1 Jul 2009|
St. Bride Foundation, St. Bride’s Passage, Off Fleet Street, London EC4Y 8EQ
£49 (includes lunch, tea/coffee)
NB: NIACE does not charge VAT on conference and course fees
|Contact:||Gurjit Kaur (firstname.lastname@example.org) Tel: 0116 204 2833|
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[Background] [Aims] [Participants will gain] [Audience] [Knowledge cafe themes] [Participants are invited to bring to the event] [How are knolwdge cafes different from group discussions] [Programme] [Application Form]
Adult literacy plays an essential role in the achievement of the Millennium Development and Education for All goals. Literacy opens up access to the knowledge and understandings vital to work (employment or selfemployment), health and family life as well as for active citizenship. Despite this, the 2006 Global Monitoring Report (GMR) on Literacy showed that adult literacy has been neglected all over the world, and suggested that it must be a higher priority for national and international agendas. It recommended that aid in basic education should be doubled; and that nations should, “Complement the flow of funds with analytical and knowledge support.” (Literacy for Life, 2006, p25).
Many questions arise: what do we mean by literacy; is it a pre-condition of learning other things or is it integral to it? What are the most effective approaches to teaching and learning; how do we support literacy and numeracy through aid and developmental programmes; how do we advocate to policy makers and planners the benefits of supporting adult literacy and numeracy and, most importantly, what researched evidence might we draw upon?
The time is right for this seminar. The Global Campaign for Education theme for 2009 is adult and youth literacy. The UK has led the way in developing policies and practices through its Skills for Life strategy; but this enlightened approach has not translated into international development policies and practices. The ambition of the GMR on literacy needs support, and the contribution of literacy and numeracy to other GMRs must be stressed. Those who have responsibilities for taking the highlighted agendas forward must be informed by the latest evidence. The current review of the Fast Track Initiative will inform future priorities in literacy development; this will create opportunities to raise understanding of adult literacy.
The global conference on adult education, CONFINTEA V1 will be informed by this workshop’s thinking and analysis of literacy - one of the major themes of the global conference. UKFIET’s biennial conference in Oxford in September will continue the agenda, building on the discussions of this workshop.
We will raise questions and share knowledge and understanding, relating to several strands of investigation and development of adult literacy and numeracy. We will use a participative approach which results in agreed recommendations for specific audiences.
- Knowledge about the evidence base for advocating adult literacy and numeracy and human development
- Insight into different perspectives and contexts for teaching and learning adult literacy and numeracy
- Participation in an open process of sharing knowledge, understanding and insight into a wide range of issues surrounding adult literacy, numeracy and human development
- An opportunity to agree prioritised recommendations to specific audiences about future activity to further the development of adult literacy and numeracy
- Insight into the UK government’s perspective on adult literacy and human development in the context of international development
- Ideas about how to engage with government, policy makers and non-governmental organisations in relation to adult literacy and numeracy
- Opportunities to network with colleagues from similar and related disciplines
Participants can use the information and insights gained from the event to inform their own international development policies and practices.
The event will be of particular interest to:
- people working in international development, interested in the contribution adult literacy can make to improving the lives of some of the world’s poorest people
- those working on issues of human development, especially in developing countries
- researchers in adult literacy and numeracy, from a global perspective
- aid organisations which want to improve the effectiveness of their activities
- policy makers concerned with international development
- practitioners in international development
The event will include keynote presentations and a knowledge café approach. This involves hosted conversations, debate and discussion around agreed themes, questions and issues. Participants will be encouraged to choose the themes which most interest them; background information will be available. There will be opportunities to select several themes and the results of the dialogue and debate will be posted on the walls for all to see. Everyone will be involved in shaping the conclusions and recommendations. After the seminar these will be typed up and sent to participants; the Literacy Working Group will ensure that the key ecommendations are communicated to the relevant organisations and audiences.
Overall issue to be explored: The contribution of adult literacy to international development
- Exploring literate environments: What are they? How can they be identified, used and supported in developing countries? How can adult literacy tutors/facilitators use them?
- Advocacy for adult literacy: What approaches are effective? What research/evidence bases can draw upon? How can we translate research into practice?
- Family learning and literacy: How can we conceptualise ‘family’? What does this mean in different cultures and contexts? What examples can we draw upon? What contribution does it have to make?
- Using different approaches in different contexts; an examination of LETTER: What works, for whom? What are the key success factors? What can be transferred and how?
- Adult literacy in fragile states: What seems to work? What has it to contribute? What policies and strategies should be promoted? How can they be implemented in vulnerable and fragile situations?
- The role of campaigns in promoting adult literacy; drawing on experiences from Quick Reads (UK), Big Book and Big Read (Global Campaign for Education): What strategies and approaches work? What impact do they have? What can we learn and transfer to different cultures and contexts?
- Universal primary education and the contribution of adult literacy: how can the two be linked? What approaches, strategies should be developed? What evidence can be drawn upon?
- Adult literacy and human development: What conceptualisation should we be advocating? What challenges arise? What links can be made with eg health?
(See description of knowledge cafés on page 4).
- An open attitude to sharing knowledge, insight and understanding
- Their own experiences, information and knowledge
- Any recent research reports or examples of development
- Posters and publicity which describe their organisation and interest in adult literacy and numeracy
- Posters and publicity which describe the work and activities in which they are involved
Knowledge cafés have been around for 10-15 years and are one of a number of participatory approaches to running conferences, seminars and workshops. NIACE has been using knowledge cafés for several years for a variety of purposes, but primarily to create forums for exchange and collaborative learning.
Knowledge cafés are grounded in Communities of Practice (Lave & Wenger 1991) underpinned by the principle that collaborative learning is most creative and effective when
(a) individuals come together with a shared interest and a range of relevant experiences and knowledges
(b) there is no preset ‘activity’ or ‘task’ but questions to explore
(c) the direction, energy, pace and conclusions are determined by, and arise from the group.
(Knowledge cafés have quite a bit in common with Open Space technologies, although knowledge cafés are often slightly more focused and newcomers to this way of working find them easier to participate in.)
All of these methodologies have been picked up and adapted in different ways, sometimes hardly recognisable from their Community of Practice roots.
At a typical knowledge café there will be an overall question (or topic) with which people have been invited to engage. A series of round tables will be available offering different sub-questions relating to the overall topic, often these tables will be covered with white tablecloths and pens for scribbling. Each table will have a facilitator, whose role is to engage those who come to the table in dialogue and debate around the question (or topic).
- Participants are encouraged to choose the table from which they feel they have most to gain, they are actively encouraged to use the rule of two feet and move if they wish to. The organisers avoid limiting the number per table and allow participants to take responsibility for the group size.
- Background information, or case studies are made available, although care has to be taken that these do not dictate the direction of the debate with the session turning into ‘learning about’ the example provided rather than engaging in creative dialogue stimulated by the case study
- Questions (or topics) are repeated more than once allowing for more than one group to tackle a question
- Table cloths are shared on the walls as the session progresses so all can see – and build on - the thoughts of others knowledge, understanding and insight into a wide range of issue
- Conclusions etc can be collated and disseminated
A good knowledge café results in highly quality, democratic, engaging discussion and exchange. The way in which the knowledge café is introduced places the responsibility on participants, often leading to greater ownership, participation and creativity. The informal nature (scribbling with refreshments available in café style) often stimulates creative thinking. By phrasing the topics in the form of questions, tables (usually) move naturally from debate towards solutions and conclusions.
10:00 Arrival and registration (lunch, tea/coffee available)
10:30 Welcome and introduction to the day
10:45 Knowledge Café 1
11:25 Knowledge Café 2 (tea/coffee available)
12:05 Keynote speech 1: Ivan Lewis, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development (tbc)
International Development and adult literacy
12:25 Keynote speech 2: Alan Tuckett, CEO, NIACE
Making the Case
12:45 Keynote speech 3: Professor Lalage Bown, NIACE Honorary Life member
Making an impact
13:00 Questions to speakers
Posters and materials will be on display during the lunch break and participants are encouraged to network with colleagues.
14:00 Knowledge Café 3
14:40 Knowledge Café 4
15:20 Prioritising recommendations for specific audiences
15:45 Summing up
15:50 Close of conference (tea/coffee available)