ERIC Number: ED364747
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Nov
Teamwork and Literacy: Learning from a Skills-Poor Position.
Hart-Landsberg, Sylvia; Reder, Stephen
A study examined the roles of literacy and teamwork in an automotive parts manufacturing company that was restructuring to implement a "high-performance" model of team organization, worker responsibility for quality control, and a pay-for-knowledge compensation system. The study focused on the formal and informal educational practices from which 480 workers organized into 19 production teams (ranging in size from 3 to 88 members) learned and taught literacy skills. The teams were observed from four vantage points: on production lines manufacturing parts from raw materials, on assembly lines building products from component parts, over the shoulders of workers operating machines, and from a distance to view the team as a whole. Those workers who had lower literacy levels or fewer educational credentials than most of the plant's employees were found to face more educational demands and more limited opportunities for learning than their more highly skilled and educated counterparts did. Although the high-performance model stimulated innovative teaching approaches, including some strategies developed specifically for or by skills-poor workers, most of the approaches proved inadequate to enable the less literate and educated workers to overcome their poor position and improve their literacy skills. (Contains 12 figures/exhibits.) (MN)
Descriptors: Adult Basic Education, Adult Literacy, Educational Environment, Educational Needs, Educational Opportunities, Educational Practices, Educational Strategies, Educationally Disadvantaged, Learning Strategies, Literacy Education, Manufacturing Industry, Skill Development, Teamwork, Workplace Literacy
National Center on Adult Literacy, Dissemination/Publications, University of Pennsylvania, 3910 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-3111 (order no. TR93-6: $7; check or money order payable to "Kinko's Copy Center").
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Center on Adult Literacy, Philadelphia, PA.