Hi there tout la gang,

We don't have much to say about research in practice at the Café right now

but we are talking policy and practice over here now: Literacy Enquirers.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

see you in september

Hey there café readers,

I hope your summer is going swimmingly. Mine is cranking along. There is some family stuff that I have been attending to and lots of relatives have come to town so I have not found time to blog. I think I am going to take a break until September... before the 21st night for sure ... see you around Literacy Day.

Monday, July 13, 2009

using our literacy skills for good

Last week we reported about the release of the United Nations Millenium Goals Report. The report shows that not enough progress is being made to meet the targets in time.

The G8 summit was also last week. They started, as we all should, with a nice breakfast:
"The official cook of the Italian national soccer team, Claudio Silvestri, was in charge of breakfast and served a staple from Italians' breakfast tables for nearly 65 years -- Nutella. The roasted hazelnut spread was offered in the form of a balanced breakfast -- on bread accompanied by milk and fruit. Fortified by this nutritious breakfast, the world's leaders were then ready to tackle the globe's pressing issues through the rest of the day."

One of the pressing issues they took on was maternal and child health last week. Here is how the Guardian reported the attempt:
"...perhaps believers of the Make Poverty History generation should not give up hope just yet. While the G8 failed to increase their aid for maternal and child health (which currently represents a miniscule 3% of total aid) they were persuaded to commission a new assessment of the finance that is needed to reach the millennium development goals (MDGs). Reportedly this line in the statement was hastily agreed as the meeting was breaking up and a number of leaders were impatient to leave for an earthquake tour."

And so it goes.

Anotonia Zerbisias posted a copy of this ad which exhorts these world "leaders" to use the literacy skills, learned from their mothers, to ensure global health and well-being.

Your mother taught you how to write your name, now she'd expect you to sign it.

Every single minute a mother dies in pregnancy or childbirth. 80% of those deaths are preventable. At this week's G8 Summit in Italy, you are the 8 people who can prevent them -- it's as simple as that. Reduce maternal mortality and make every mother proud of you.

Mothers everywhere are watching and hoping.

Just because some of us can read and write and do a little math,
that doesn't mean we deserve to conquer the universe.
~ kurt vonnegut ~
in hocus pocus, 1990

But it could mean that we do all we can to help make the universe a humane and beautiful place for all of inhabitants. Hazelnuts and chocolate for all!

Friday, July 10, 2009

women hold up half the union

As many of you may know, the Toronto municipal workers are on strike. Most of what gets talked about is garbage -- where to put it and what to do with it once it is there. Yesterday, Antonia Zerbisias pointed to the gender politics of recent collective bargaining efforts in Toronto the good:

"Did you know that most city workers are women? Did you know that at least half of those are part-timers, who get no sick leave? Did you know that, while the city was relatively generous with male-dominated unions (the police, firefighters etc.), it is demanding all sorts of concessions from those female inside workers now on the picket lines? Did you know that the screw up is by the city which, when it gave SOME workers those controversial sick leaves in exchange for salary concessions, neglected to set aside funding to pay those sick days out?"

Antonia also linked to this video that I thought you might enjoy:

Antonia Zerbisias works for the Toronto Star where this happened on Monday. And this union-busting effort (see #6) is why I canceled my subscription to that paper in 2001.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

esl literacy readings

Here are a couple of good ESL Literacy resources that have been mentioned on the National Institute for Literacy Adult English Language Learners mailing list recently:

1. How Should Adult ESL Reading Instruction Differ from ABE Reading Instruction? by Miriam Burt, Joy Kreeft Peyton, and Carol Van Duzer of the Center for Adult English Language Acquisition, March 2005

Increasing the English reading skills of adult immigrants is an important task. Unfortunately, little research exists on how adult immigrants learn to read in English and which instructional practices are the most successful. In order to provide evidence-based suggestions for teaching reading to adult English language learners, this brief summarizes the research base on adult English speakers learning to read and the suggestions for instruction from these studies (Kruidenier, 2002). Then, using findings from a synthesis of research on adult English language learners learning to read (Burt, Peyton, & Adams, 2003), the brief describes how these learners differ from native English speakers and how these differences should affect instruction.
2. Volume 24 of the Minnesota and Wisconsin TESOL Journal is a special issue on Research and Best Practice Concerning the Instruction of ESL Learners with Low Levels of Literacy
Literacies author James Simpson (Skills for Life in England, Wales and Northern Ireland or Be careful what you wish for) especially recommends Patsy Vinogradov's article: “Maestra! The letters speak.” Learning to Read for the First Time: Best Practices in Emergent Reading Instruction.

Monday, July 6, 2009

UN millenium development goals report

"Nine years ago, world leaders set far-sighted goals to free a major portion of humanity from the shackles of extreme poverty, hunger, illiteracy and disease. They established targets for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women, environmental sustainability and a global partnership for development. In short, they adopted a blueprint for a better world – and pledged to spare no effort in fulfilling that vision."

The Development Goals are for:
  1. Ending Poverty and Hunger
  2. Universal Primary Education
  3. Gender Equality
  4. Child Health
  5. Maternal Health
  6. Combating HIV/AIDS
  7. Environmental Sustainability
  8. and Developing Global Partnerships.
Good stuff.

"More than halfway to the 2015 deadline to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), major advances in the fight against poverty and hunger have begun to slow or even reverse as a result of the global economic and food crises, a progress report by the United Nations has found. The assessment, launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Geneva, warns that, despite many successes, overall progress has been too slow for most of the targets to be met by 2015."

And so it goes.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Sr. Freire is alive and well in...

West Sacramento, California...

For three months, a group of teens in West Sacramento, called the Sactown Heroes, took cameras and microphones to the streets to document what they liked and disliked about the city and talk about changes they would like to see.

Throughout the project, youth documented their views on West Sacramento through videos, photographs, and audio recordings, which are posted on this map.

They presented their work and their ideas at City Hall this week.

Describe your reality.

Reflect upon your reality.

Plan how to change your reality.

Transform your reality.

You can read more at the Sacramento Bee :: West Sacramento teens make their voices heard at City Hall

Thursday, July 2, 2009

last night ...

all over canada...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

life in canada

All about us...

Happy Canada Day tout la gang!

Video from the Grievous Angels One Job Town CD, released in 1990. Band includes: Michelle Rumball (vocals), Charlie Angus (guitar) -- yes, that Charlie Angus!, Tim Hadley (bass), Peter Duffin (drums), Kersti MacLeod (back up vocals), Lynne Symmons (back up vocals), John Switzer (producer filling in on fake piano).