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.

Monday, November 12, 2007

we're back

Well here we are again. In the café and in Toronto. I was up in Ottawa last week for the Linkages: Connecting Literacy and English as a Second Language forum. It was an amazing 30 hours. So many innovative and creative people from both fields and from the academy, the government and the community. Thanks to the good folks at the Movement for Canadian Literacy for such a wonderful opportunity to network. I met up with colleagues from many different phases of my brilliant career and with new-to-me people who I hope will become part of future phases.

James Simpson was there from the University of Leeds to talk about The Right Course, a project he worked on with Melanie Cook and Mike Baynham.

This project asked: How do ESOL or bilingual students get placed or place themselves in literacy and/or ESOL classes? ... The decision may be made at an institutional level, and one part of this research ... sought to understand how placement practices operate in particular institutions. But students position themselves as well ... The second part of the research ... included an examination of students’ views on whether and why an ESOL or a literacy path is followed.

This snapshot of adult education policy and practice in the UK presented a picture of how the implementation of a national strategy can impact teaching and learning. Some of us heard a cautionary tale and some called for a similar national effort to develop common definitions and standards here in Canada.

At one of the discussion tables, Doug Fleming posed these questions, "What would a common definition of ESL/Literacy give us? Can we develop a definition that includes all the work currently called ESL/Literacy? What would have to be excluded?"

We talked about creating a definition based on practice rather than one that was prescriptive and about how we would need to do more field research to make sure we could be as inclusive as possible. And then, of course, we ran out of time. I hope that this conversation gets picked up again somewhere.

Sue Folinsbee's discussion paper, which does not appear to be available online but which is a fascinating read, is a good start and points us towards many investigations.

Charles Ramsey is going to work with NALD to set up an ESL/Literacy listserv. I'll let you know details as soon as I get them.

1 comment:

Stephen Haggard said...

The UK today announced a scandalous "new approach" on esl/literacy. I have blogged about it at http://messyplaymessywork.blogspot.com/2009/05/rationing-of-basic-learning.html
and I urge all to see the report and respond.

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