Adult Literacy/ ABE/ LLN

During the early 1990s, I was deeply involved in trying to design a learning path for second chance adults that would have comparable outcomes the outcomes of schooling for youth. These articles comprise some of my efforts to argue for a general education for adults.

Technology & the heart (1989)

This was my first foray into print. Like all first-born it is special. It took a heart attack to make me realise that if I did indeed wish to write I could not procrastinate forever. Or it would be literally forever.

Framing the Field (1991)

This is perhaps my most important contribution to the Adult Literacy/ALBE field, but it was never published, and has been unobtainable for over a decade. It was written as a contribution to a collection focused on renewing the school English curriculum, a collection that was suppressed by the then Government. However, because government was beginning to show interest in Adult Literacy, I tried to lay out a broad curriculum framework, a framework that became the ‘four literacies’ framing the CGEA.

ABE: challenges for the 90s

This is some unpublished notes that raise issues about Adult Basic Education worrying me as we entered the 90s. I am publishing them here because they raise issues that we have still not really dealt with properly. Issues such as:

    • the consequences of classifying and grouping adults according to their literacy capacities;
    • the need for a taxonomy for different kinds of post-compulsory students – thereby pointing to other possible ways of grouping adult literacy students.


Different Angles (1993)

This chapter uses the ‘four literacies’ and shows how they could be used to think about education across many dimensions, including different kinds of institutions, courses, forms of education, pedagogies, genres of writing, forms of knowing, educational goals, and so on. Thus as categories they were not just about literacy.

Texting Times: textualisation as knowledge/power (1996)

This was one of my efforts at resisting the way ALBE was being manoeuvred into becoming a key institution in the government apparatus for governing the unemployed.

Adult Literacy- New paradigm (2003)

This paper was an effort to help Adult Literacy come into the inheritance of its past, the past of rhetoric and practical philosophy dating from ancient Greece.

Literacy for adulthood

Unpublished paragraphs clarifying for myself my angle on adult literacy.

Groping towards our field (2009)

This is a short piece for ‘Fine Print’ worrying away at the status and standing of the Adult Literacy field – about what it should be called, about what it teaches and hopes its students learn, about its relations with other educational fields, about its values, politics and future. 

LLN, Glossing & Counter-Glossing (2011)

This article published in ‘Fine Print’ explores the history, practices and ambitions of Adult Literacy (called ‘Language, Literacy, Numeracy’ in Australia at the time of writing, but now re-invented as ‘Foundation Studies’) by inventing two concepts: glossing and counter-glossing. I deploy these as a way of capturing the plurality of Adult Literacy that makes sense of its history and possible futures.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: