[AAACE-NLA] What's in a name-"AELS"
tsticht at znet.com
tsticht at znet.com
Mon Dec 1 19:10:15 EST 2008
Jim: You raise one of the issues that was never resolved in the NLA list
earlier discussion on names for adult literacy education, to use your term.
This issue was just what was it that we as a field need to be advocating
for. Are looking to stamp out illiteracy as some earlier advocacy efforts
put it? Or should we be advocating for an adult literacy education SYSTEM?
I took the position that we already had developed a national adult
education system in the Adult Education Act of 1966 and this system was a
partnership between the federal and state governments. But the field of
adult had never agreed upon a name for this system and furthermore, for
many people working in the system itself there was no recognition of this
national adult education system. As I mentioned earlier, I took the name
the Adult Education and Literacy System from the name of the Division of
Adult Education and Literacy. Like you mentioned about Iowa, the
Literacy part was the result of trying to show that the Adult Education
Act as changed into the National Literacy Act and then into the WIA title 2
act was striving for inclusion because some CBOs thought they were being
left out and they were they ones mostly serving the least literate or so it
was argued by some.
So here we are again. What are we advocating for? Adult literacy as a
charitable activity which anyone can get into and do his or her own thing
in terms of educational services? Or are we advocating for the
federal/state partnership of WIA Title 2 which is a true system with
programs operating under some common standards and accountability? Are we
looking for a name for the Adult Education and Literacy System of the
United States (my default name) or for a name for our somewhat loosely
defined field? It was the impasse due to these types of concerns that
lead me to simply coin my own name for the national Adult Education and
Literacy System (AELS) (note that this is the name of the SYSTEM not the
If anyone is interested, you can read more about the AELS as a SYSTEM in the
online syllabus of reports below.
Adult Education and Literacy in the United States: A Syllabus and Resources
for an Online Course of Self-Study
International Consultant in Adult Education
Each year many people start work in adult education and literacy development
without much background in the field. Others who have worked in the field
for a while may wish to deepen their knowledge of the field. To give people
a chance to learn more about the field and its history, policies, practices
and issues that it deals with I have developed this syllabus for
self-study. It provides guidance to 12 reports of mine which are available
for free downloading online. Reading one report a week will provide a one
semester, 12 week course of self-study. Except for number 1.1, these
resources are located online at www.nald.ca at the Library pages for the
Syllabus and Resources
Part 1: History of and Perspective on the Adult Education and Literacy
System (AELS) of the United States
1.1. The Rise of the Adult Education and Literacy System in the United
States: 1600-2000.A 400 year history of activities leading to the Adult
Education Act of 1966 and the emergence of the present day AELS with
organizations and individuals involved in this rise.
1.2. Beyond 2000: Future Directions for Adult Education. Looks at social,
demographic, scientific, economic, and technology trends with implications
for the AELS; examines government and legislative trends with implications
for the future of the AELS. http://www.nald.ca/fulltext/beyond/Beyond.PDF
1.3. The Adult Education and Literacy System (AELS) in the United States:
Moving From the Margins to the Mainstream of Education. Includes the
growing value of the Adult Education and Literacy System (AELS) in the new
millennium; value of AELS for improving adults' and children's health,
learning and schooling; need for mainstreaming the AELS in U.S. education;
strengthening the AELS.
Part 2: Testing, Assessment, and Accountability in the AELS
2.1. Adult Literacy in the United States: a Compendium of Quantitative Data
With Interpretive Comments. Presents a developmental theory of literacy and
history of and items from standardized tests in the U.S. including military
tests from World War I to 1990s and all mass literacy tests for adults from
1930s to the National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS) of 1993, which is similar
to the NAAL of 2003. Presents data on relationships of parents education to
the literacy of their children; relationships of adult literacy to
occupations; and samples of pre- and post-test gains for over 30 programs,
including longitudinal growth curves for some programs.
2.2. Testing and Accountability in Adult Literacy Education: Focus on
Workplace Literacy Resources for Program Design, Assessment, Testing, &
Evaluation. Provides knowledge resources for designing, delivering and
evaluating workplace literacy programs; discusses testing and
accountability in adult literacy programs in the Workforce Education Act of
1998 still in effect as of 2007; determining how many adults are lacking in
workforce literacy: the national and international adult literacy surveys.
Part 3: Curriculum Theory With Case Studies Illustrating Applications to
Adult Education and Literacy Programs
3.1. Functional Context Education: Making Learning Relevant (1997 edition).
Eight chapters including The Power of Adult Literacy Education, Some
Challenges of Diversity for Adult Literacy Education, Views On Contemporary
Cognitive Science, Introduction to Functional Context Education, Functional
Context Education and Literacy Instruction, and four case studies in
applying Functional Context Education to the design of programs that
integrate (or embed, contextualize) basic skills and vocational or
parenting education (workplace literacy, family literacy).
3.2. Functional Context Education: Making Learning Relevant in the 21st
Century (2005 edition). Functional Context Education (FCE) materials
available online in several nations, the Adult Literacy and Life Skills
(ALL) survey, National Adult Assessment of Literacy (NAAL) survey, FCE in
historical perspective, (1860-Present) including Paulo Freire and Learner
Centered, Participatory Literacy Education. Methodologies used in adult
literacy research for determining what is relevant to youth and adult
learners; five case studies illustrating the application of FCE in
parenting, vocational training, and health literacy.
Part 4: Listening and Reading Theory and Practice With Adult Learners
4.1. Auding and Reading: a Developmental Model. This is the first book
applying modern cognitive science to oracy (listening to and speaking
language) and its transfer to literacy development with children and
adults. It presents an early version of Gough's "simple model of reading"
stating that Reading = Decoding + Comprehension (measured by listening). It
provides an extensive review of research on language development,
relationships of listening to reading, and the evaluation of four
hypotheses derived from the simple model presented in the book.
4.2. Teaching Reading With Adults. This paper discusses literacy as the
mastery of graphics technology. It shows how the basic elements of the
graphic medium - its relative permanence, its ability to be arrayed in
space, and its use of the properties of light - work together to permit
literates to generate (write) and access (read) massive collections of
knowledge; to analyze and synthesize discrete information into coherent
bodies of knowledge, and to perform complex procedures with accuracy and
4.3. Seven Pioneering Adult Literacy Educators in the History of Teaching
Reading With Adults in the United States. Throughout the 20th century both
Synthetic and Analytic methods of teaching reading were favored by
different adult literacy educators. Favoring the Synthetic or "code"
methods are Harriet A. Jacobs, J. Duncan Spaeth and Frank Laubach. Favoring
the Analytic or "meaning making " methods are Cora Wilson Stewart, Paul
Witty, Francis P. Robinson, and Septima Poinsette Clark. This paper
discusses teaching innovations introduced by each of these pioneers in
adult literacy education.
Part 5: Policy Papers
5.1. Toward a Multiple Life Cycles Education Policy: Investing in the
Education of Adults to Improve the Educability of Children. This paper
argues for education policy that recognizes that literacy is transferred
across generations from parents to their children. Therefore, we need to
have a much larger investment in the education of youth and adults who are
parents or who will be parents. Adult literacy education affects multiple
life cycles. An extensive review is presented of research on early
childhood education, relationships of parent's education to children's
literacy, parenting and preschool effectiveness, and other issues.
5.2 Reforming Adult Literacy Education: Transforming Local Programs Into
National Systems in Canada, the United Kingdom & the United States.
Activities are underway in these three nations for transforming adult
literacy education from a variety of disparate programs into organized
systems of education for adults. Activities include:1. Scale of Need:
determining how many adults are in need of adult basic skills education. 2.
Access to Provision: determining how many adults are aware of, have access
to and enroll in adult literacy education provision.3. Nature of Provision:
determining the nature of the delivery system of adult literacy provision.4.
Quality of Provision: determining the need for improved quality.5.
Accountability of Provision: improving methods for determining student
learning and other outcomes.
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