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ERIC Number: EJ758765
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 22
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 42
ISSN: ISSN-0010-8146
Learning to Communicate an Adult Literacy Programme in Post-War El Salvador
Prins, Esther
Convergence, v38 n1 p69-90 2005
The experiences of men and women who participated in a Salvadoran adult literacy program belie the instrumentalist discourse of adult education, for they identified psychosocial benefits as the most meaningful aspects of the program. Attending literacy classes did not change their material situation as underemployed "campesinos/as," but it did help them learn new social skills--even though these were not an explicit part of the curriculum. Drawing on ethnographic, participatory research in rural El Salvador, this article examines how participants learned to communicate and interact with others in more meaningful, satisfying ways. Specifically, they lost their "pena" (shame, timidity, embarrassment) and learned respectful social practices. This article explains why learners associated illiteracy with "pena" and a lack of "educacion" (proper, respectful social behaviour), describes the changes in these domains, and identifies which aspects of the program led to these changes. Although one could interpret these new practices as a form of social control, the author argues instead that these changes fostered civility and respect in a post-war setting marked by distrust, fear, and personal animosities. The article concludes with implications for adult education theory and practice. (Contain 1 figure and 4 notes.)
National Institute of Adult Continuing Education. Renaissance House, 20 Princess Road West, Leicester, LE1 6TP, UK. Tel: +44-1162-044200; Fax: +44-1162-044262; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: El Salvador