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, April 29, 2009

tried, tested and true

from Where's Freire?, Literacies #1

Where I really saw Freire in action was in Nicaragua during the time of the Sandinista government. The materials were very rudimentary and the curriculum was clearly based on Freire. The topics were always very, very close to their own reality. They were coffee farmers. Each lesson followed the same steps:

  • observe your reality,
  • discuss your reality,
  • read about it,
  • analyse it and finally,
  • transform it.

These steps were part of every single lesson – and they always ended with transform your reality – they didn’t stop with just read or write about it – the last part of every lesson was always action. I have never seen it so clear cut.

from the Beginner's Guide to Learning Circles, Chapter 7,
The Learning Circles Project

Diane Hill, an adult educator who specializes in working with aboriginal adults says, “All learning moves through a cycle.” Aboriginal people understand that there are four stages in learning:
  • see
  • feel/relate
  • think
  • and act
All learning begins with awareness. Insights, intuitions and dreams activate the learning process and challenge the way we feel/relate, think, and act.

The next stage in the learning cycle is to examine how one feels or relates to their new awareness, their self, and others. It is about our relationships and connectedness. Here we express and articulate our feelings about self and how we relate to the total environment. The learning process can evoke a range of feelings from joy to sorrow as people work to make changes, adjust to the challenges of learning something new, or engage in examining their lived experiences. In this stage we bring new light to the factors that contribute to our experiences, making difficult situations manageable.

The third stage is thinking and learning how our thinking creates change in our lives. It is what we have come to know and understand about ourselves and the world through information and facts. It is also the integration of new patterns that are the result of positive life experiences. This stage exemplifies our skill, our ability to solve problems and to make informed decisions.

The final stage is the actualization of one’s learning. Knowledge, skills, and attitudes (beliefs and feelings) are internalized and used to maintain positive patterns. It is what we do and how we act (or react) in the face of the challenges that present themselves in our day to day lives.

from Our class on how we run our class,
Digital Ethnography, April 24, 2009

First off, we organize it as a research group, not a class.

The basic format is this:

  • First 3 weeks: exploration stage
  • Second 3 weeks: guided introduction to the field
  • Next 4 weeks: self-guided research
  • Due at 11th week: Research paper (followed by collaboration exercises)
  • Final (16th week): Share with world (video, website, etc.)


Nancy Friday said...

Food for the soul! I am so happy I started my day reading the Literacies blog! What an excellent thread of wisdom presented here - solid evidence of sound and peer-supported theory and practice. I feel anchored. Thanks! Nancy

literacies publisher said...

Peer-supported = peer reviewed for practitioners. I think. It is interesting how often a similar cycle shows up in approaches that are learner centred and learner directed; learning to the test and the test is transformation, actualization and sharing with the world.

I worked with someone on a project whose underlying/overlying question for everything was, "If nothing is going to change, why am I doing this?"

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