ERIC Number: ED343182
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
No Pitiful Stories: Looking at the Relationship between Adult Literacy Programs and Empowerment.
Novek, Eleanor M.
When people seek to augment their reading and writing skills through participation in adult literacy programs, what do they expect to happen? An examination of brochures promoting adult literacy programs both nationally and in Philadelphia indicates that the programs promote adult literacy instruction as empowering learners and rescuing them from unemployment and a poor quality of life. In interviews with 13 adult learners, the learners expressed the belief that literacy would give them more control over their daily lives. Some respondents viewed literacy primarily as a strategy for social acceptance and economic success. Several expected immediate advancement from a few months of participation in literacy programs. Discussions with 5 focus groups and 12 adult learners netted comments about the enablement, self-determination, and power that came from literacy. Respondents discussed increased self-esteem, the conquering of shyness, or the satisfaction of a task completed. Some participants saw literacy as a skill necessary for survival, not just transformation. One complained that the literacy programs chose learners they could portray as victims as representatives to conferences. Instead, it appears that adult learners' self-determination (a kind of empowerment) leads to their participation in literacy programs, rather than the reverse. (Forty-two references are attached.) (SG)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Communication Context; Empowerment
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (77th, Atlanta, GA, October 31-November 3, 1991).