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Adult Literacy Education: The International Journal of Literacy, Language, and Numeracy


VOLUME 3 ISSUE 2 : SUMMER 2021

Adult Literacy Education: The International Journal of Literacy, Language, and Numeracy

ProLiteracy

ALE Research Journal - ProLiteracy

The journal’s mission is to publish research on adult basic and secondary education and transitions to college and career programs. It informs practitioners, researchers, policy makers, and funders about best practices in adult literacy, numeracy, and English language education in publicly funded, community and volunteer-based programs in a wide range of contexts. Each issue will consist of research articles focused on a particular theme plus other content of interest to readers (e.g., resource reviews, opinion pieces, and debates and discussions on timely topics of interest to the field).

Contact: ProLiteracy, https://www.proliteracy.org/ALE-Journal

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Research Articles

Metaphors of Reading and Teaching Reading: Adult and College Educators’ Readerly and Teacherly Identities

Donita Shaw, Oklahoma State University; Sonya L. Armstrong, Texas State University; Adam J. Alejandro, Texas State University; Shelley Martin-Young, Oklahoma State University; Abby Weyen, Oklahoma State University

ALE Research Journal - ProLiteracy

The purpose of this study was to explore possible implicit models of reading that drive curriculum and instruction in adult and postsecondary developmental reading contexts. This qualitative investigation explored faculty conceptualizations of reading via linguistic metaphors. Forty-six reading education professionals completed an online survey that gave two options for describing Reading and Teaching Reading: create an elicited metaphor through an open-ended statement or choose from a prescribed list of metaphors. Using metaphor analysis procedures, we identified conceptual metaphor categories. Results indicated interesting differences within the conceptualizations of these participants’ readerly identities compared to their teacherly identities. 

Correspondance: donita.shaw@okstate.edu

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Probing the Interface Between Learning Theory and Practice in Adult Basic Education

George Demetrion, Capital Community College and 1199 New England Training and Upgrading Fund

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This essay tracks and expands upon critical exchanges with graduate students in a course for adult educators, highlighting conflicting perspectives among participants on the relative value of theory in enhancing practice. An underlying focus of the course consisted of comparing constructivist and cognitive perspectives on learning theory and their relationship to corresponding models of instructional design. To gain further insight on the theory/practice dynamic, the essay also highlights Dewey’s functional theory of learning underlying his pragmatic philosophy of inquiry. Participants implicitly embraced practitioner research frames of reference, drawing out the insider perspective—a topic explicitly discussed below—as an essential counterpoint to an outsider stance, that typically orients academic research. The essay calls for critical intermingling of research traditions to facilitate collaborative approaches to problem solving in adult basic education. 

Correspondance: georged840@gmail.com

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Report from the Field

Reflections from Teaching Basic Adult Literacy

Inga Einarson, The Hospital for Sick Children; Christine Miller, Georgia State University; Devi Rodgerson, The Hospital for Sick Children; Lea Lacerenza, The Hospital for Sick Children; Maureen W. Lovett, The Hospital for Sick Children and University of Toronto; Daphne Greenberg, Georgia State University

ALE Research Journal - ProLiteracy

Teaching reading to adults who struggle with literacy learning is a difficult task, and there is a paucity of evidence-based programming designed especially for them. Three research teachers describe their experiences while teaching an evidence-based reading program to adult literacy students. This article provides an overview of the program content delivered to adult learners, an account of teachers’ experiences teaching this program, a description of the learners’ responses to the program, and a portrayal of what the learners’ responses revealed about their educational needs. 

Correspondance: dgreenberg@gsu.edu


Forum: COVID-19 and the Future of Adult Education

Introduction to the Forum

Co-Editors, Adult Literacy Education

ALE Research Journal - ProLiteracy

It would be impossible to put out an issue of the ALE journal without addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. Its impact has been sweeping, deep, and as we have so often heard, unprecedented.
As we write this, it has been with us for about year. Program shutdowns began in mid-March 2019 and have been with us to a varying degree, depending on locale and infection rates, ever since. Programs have dealt with the circumstances in a great variety of ways, but generally with commitment, energy, and ingenuity. 

Contact: ProLiteracy, https://www.proliteracy.org/ALE-Journal

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Adult Education: A State Director’s Perspective Where Are We Now? Where Are We Headed?

Trenia Miles, State Director, Division of Workforce Services, Adult Education Section, Arkansas

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Since 1964, adult education has played a pivotal role in helping adults improve their lives and advance economically. According to the Federal Adult Education—A Legislative History, 1964-2013, when an influx of immigrants started arriving in the United States in the 20th century, language became a barrier for many to fully participate in the work and economic opportunities the country began to offer (Eyre & Pawloski, 2014). In response, states met this challenge by providing instruction to help immigrants learn English. Today, the field of adult education continues the pattern of evolving to meet the needs of its respective community and the nation. For example, family literacy classes are offered to help improve the economic outlook of families and assist parents in supporting their children’s academic needs. Workplace classes provide an opportunity for employees to improve basic academic skills and increase work productivity on the job. Additionally, correctional education gives those in institutional settings a chance to earn their high school equivalency diploma so that, upon release, they can reenter society and increase their chances of obtaining a job. 

Correspondence: Trenia.Miles@arkansas.gov

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The COVID-19 Pandemic from an Adult Literacy Practitioner-Scholar Perspective: Where We Were, Where We Are, and Where We Should Be Going

Sasha V. Lotas, Academy of Hope Adult Public Charter School

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In March 2020, Academy of Hope (AoH) Adult Public Charter School, an adult education and workforce development program in Washington, D.C., abruptly shifted — as did most schools in the nation — to a full distance learning model. This suddenness necessitated a huge teaching and learning cultural shift: In only one week, AoH transitioned from an in-classroom learning environment augmented by digital learning tools to a remote learning environment reliant on digital learning tools. 

Correspondence: sasha@aohdc.org

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Adult Education - Facing the Future

Judy Mortrude, World Education, Inc.

ALE Research Journal - ProLiteracy

Over the past year, the field of adult basic education has mounted a strong response to COVID-19’s disruption of classes and educational practices. As we begin to think about the long- term consequences of this disruption, it might be useful to consider the ways that these changes and innovations could be built upon. In the first place, some of the innovations developed by programs and institutions address important structural problems in adult education programming. Additionally, the pandemic will increase the need for adult education as so many more people have experienced “interrupted or deficient education” and some subset of those will remain disconnected from K12. In order to understand these issues, I first outline some of the key policy issues that have become clear over the past year and then make a plea to adult educators not to return to business as usual. 

Correspondence: judy_mortrude@worlded.org

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Conclusion to the Forum

Co-Editors, Adult Literacy Education

ALE Research Journal - ProLiteracy

Although each Forum author comes to the question of what should come next as we return to normal and see most programs routinely open up to face-to-face instructional, there were also common themes across their essays. 

Contact: ProLiteracy, https://www.proliteracy.org/ALE-Journal

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Research Digest

Risk Literacy: What Can Adult Literacy Education Learn from the Decision Sciences?

Leah Katherine Saal, Loyola University Maryland

ALE Research Journal - ProLiteracy

Choices, like which health/car insurance plan best meets both needs and budget, whether
to evacuate for a hurricane or shelter in place, whether to participate in a protest during a global pandemic, or even which politician serves their communities’ interests in an upcoming election, all require adults to determine the risks and/or rewards associated with alternative outcomes of these multifaceted, socially, and culturally embedded real-world problems (Gresch et al., 2013; Saal, 2015; Saal et al., 2020). Adults bring prior experiences, knowledge, and existing skills of inductive reasoning and evaluation to “not only effectively tackle these situations at an individual level but also to take part in public debates and make fair judgments on how the authorities deal with these issues at a local or global level” (Fang et al., 2019, p. 427). 

Correspondence: lksaal@loyola.edu


Book Review

Review of Writing on the Move: Migrant Women and the Value of Literacy

Janet Isserlis, Adult Literacy Practitioner, Providence, Rhode Island

ALE Research Journal - ProLiteracy

In Writing on the Move: Migrant Women and the Value of Literacy, Rebecca Lorimer Leonard articulates ways in which migrant women’s uses of literacies and language move and shift through immigration and resettlement, and how ideological, economic, and cultural forces value, devalue or otherwise shape their use of language and literacy. The book’s first chapter explores why writing matters; chapters two through four focus on fluidity,  fixity and friction, with the fifth chapter analyzing the deep contradictions in the value(s) of literacy that the writer has gleaned from her research. 

Correspondence: janet.isserlis@gmail.com

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Resource Review

Review of Teaching Effectively with Zoom: A Practical Guide to Engage Your Students and Help Them Learn

Rebecca Eller-Molitas, Elgin Community College

ALE Research Journal - ProLiteracy

In its first edition, Teaching Effectively with Zoom, provides timely information on effectively engaging adult learners in synchronous instruction via Zoom. This work is based on the experience of the author, his students, and his colleagues at Harvard University as well as research-based principles for effective adult learning. The resource is not a guide to
the larger ecosystem of online teaching and acknowledges that live instruction may be only one component of the online teaching and learning experience. This text is targeted toward educators who have at least basic familiarity with Zoom and want to deepen their practice with actionable tips focused on increasing student engagement. 

Correspondence: Reller@proliteracy.org

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Technology Solutions for Adult Basic Skills Challenges

BlendFlex and HyFlex Models to Increase Student Engagement and Retention

David J. Rosen, Newsome Associates

ALE Research Journal - ProLiteracy

The focus of each Technology Solutions for Adult Basic Skills Challenges column begins with a common challenge facing adult basic skills practitioners. Solutions offered for these challenges, at least in part through the use of technology, include hardware, such as desktop and laptop computers, smartphones, electronic tablets, VR goggles, robots, and electronic whiteboards; software applications such as websites, course management systems, learning management systems, and databases; and apps for mobile devices. Each article begins with a description of a challenge and examines one or more solutions that use technology.

Correspondence: djrosen@newsomeassociates.com

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