Victorian Adult Literacy Basic Education Council
VALBEC is a not for profit, volunteer managed, professional organisationthat has represented the adult literacy, numeracy and basic educationfields in Victoria for over 30 years.Our core business is to provide information and professional developmentsupport for our members and the wider field. Central to the role of thecommittee is advocacy and advice on curriculum, government policy andmatters that impact on practitioners and learners in Victoria and nationallythrough our links with ACAL.Our professional development activities include an annual stateconference, twilight forums, workshops and half day forums.Our flagship journal, Fine Print, is one of only two dedicated adultliteracy, language and numeracy journals in Australia.
Morrisons Mt.Evelyn Building supportive links for low level literacy studentsbetween CGEA and VET courses within our organisation.
Prose literacy level by industry type Education Finance Public administration Health and social work Real estate, renting and other business Mining/quarrying Other community and personal services Wholesale and retail trade Transport, storage and communication Hotels and restaurants Agriculture, forestry and fishing Manufacturing Construction 0 .2 .4 .6 .8 1 Proportion Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4/5
A sociocultural perspective...We never simply just read and write, but read andwrite in a situated place, with a social identity andhistory, making meaning of what we read and writethough our own particular world paradigm. In otherwords literacy only makes sense when it reflects ourown sociocultural worlds.(Gee, 2000, p180).
Alan’s storyIntimidated by the whole idea..Memories from childhood
Sandra’s storyHer child gave her permission to go thelibrary and read ….Library helped her make friends in anew community… Learn abouteducation courses….
Case studyMeagan was a mature aged student, had left schoolearly, single parent and disillusioned with education.Enrolled in CGEA- stopped and startedSuccessful in CGEA (Support, time and patience)Enrolled in VET lacked confidence- enrolled in CGEA again.(simultaneous courses)Entered a library for the first timeMeagan graduated her VET course and is now working asa community carer and in an aged care facility.
“On the first day I felt really embarrassed. Icouldn’t do anything and I had to ask forhelp. It was like I had this mask on my face. Ididn’t want to think I was as dumb as I wastold I was. So I felt like I had to wear masksall the time and try to be someone else, justas long as it wasn’t me.”
“I have so much more confidence. Ican read things around me. Forinstance, I had never read a menubefore. Previously, when I went out todinner I knew straight away I wouldjust have a chicken parmigana. Afterall, everybody knows most menushave a chicken parmigana.”
“But now, I have choice. I can readthe menu and try different things. Iget a great sense of accomplishmentbecause I can write a quick notetelling the teacher that my son iswearing those pants today becausethe other ones are wet.”
“Once you start to study, you understand theword literacy so much more, and you realiseyou can do it. Sure it means reading andwriting but it also means understandingthings and understanding the world aroundyou.”
“I think relationships areimportant to learning”Says Meagan
How does a librarian“spot” a customer whomay have low literacy?What do they look like?
How libraries can welcomeAsk “Can I help you?”Speak “friendly”Use simple language
How libraries can welcomeStart a conversationHave computers in eye sightso you can see if any one isstruggling
Marketing to adults with low literacyGet to know your local CommunityHouses “LEARN LOCAL”Advertise using simple language
Marketing to adults with low literacyCreate events in the libraryEnsure events are at low cost andappeal to allOffer the library space to thecommunity
Ideas for libraries doStory timeInterest groups --Inclusion is importantEmbrace diversity (not just differentlanguage groups)Help with using computers
Ideas for libraries doAudio tapes of books on displayForm relationships with adultliteracy teachersBecome teachers in the libraryTell stories of how to use thelibrary
Ideas for libraries doOffer meeting rooms /spacescomputer labs for teachers touse with their studentsOpen days/Invite literacyclasses in
Literacy is social identityIt is the mastery of secondarydiscourses(Gee 1991)
Libraries are more than places to access theinternet or borrow a book, they are hubs ofcommunity identities.They provide opportunities for people toengage in the community.Therefore libraries are fertile ground togrow secondary discourses and nurture newidentities.
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