I am recently back from representing ProLiteracy at the Ireland International Conference on Education held in Dublin, Ireland. The conference was a mix of representatives from around the world discussing different educational approaches and findings. As is often the case, ProLiteracy was the only adult education organization represented and I did my best to share some of the practices that we in the United States are finding to be successful with adult literacy and ELL students.
Even with this group of highly educated professionals, it was clear that the concept of an adult literacy program, particularly in the U.S., was off their radar. Much as it is in the U.S., the unseen nature of the adult literacy problem means it goes unnoticed and unaddressed. I tried to share the importance of the issue as well as some solutions we are trying in the U.S. and with our international partners.
Perhaps the most important aspect of the conference was the sharing of ideas and solutions across countries and across grade levels. The most notable lessons for me were from a session I attended on gaming strategies for youth. It was clear many of these strategies would be of interest to our younger adult population and could easily be utilized within an existing curriculum.
This and several other sessions will be valuable in our efforts in the U.S., and hopefully the other participants learned some strategies we utilize that may be of assistance in other countries. It is our hope that the efforts of ProLiteracy will help not only our existing member organizations but other literacy efforts throughout the world.