ERIC Number: ED351516
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992
Workplace Literacy Education: Some Questions and Concerns.
Kazemek, Francis E.
The views and practices of literacy advocates who focus on workplace literacy foster an impoverished understanding of adult literacy and, ultimately, life itself. They reduce literacy to something that is "functional" in the reductive sense of serving someone else's ends as a functionary. A "functionally literate" person is a consumer of someone else's (for example, corporate capitalism's) language, ideas, and ideology rather than an active agent and producer of language, self, and society. Gaining workplace literacy is dramatically different from the goal of adult literacy education: to help adults gain greater control over their lives. Teaching reading in small active groups rather than using one-on-one tutoring, workbook-driven instruction, or independent computer use helps produce adults' ability to step outside themselves and see the world from a different perspective. Adult basic education students' perceptions of what constitutes functional literacy relate to contextual situations that are not limited to doing a job. Consequently, poetry, stories, drama, jokes, riddles, and language play of all types offer a natural basis for literacy education. Developing literacy range and power takes time, so educators must be honest about what and how little can be gained in workplace literacy lessons. They must resist attempts to trivialize the power of reading and writing. (Contains 21 references.) (CML)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A