Literacy Working Group

Year Published:  1980
Resource Type:  Slide Show
Cx Number:  CX1043

A. A Million and Me. 15 minutes slide/tape show write for details. This slide/tape show serves as an introduction to the problem of literacy in Canada. It begins by focusing on one woman who cannot read, and points out the implications that this has for her family and working life. How, for example, does this woman carry out her shopping, particularly when she wants to purchase the less expensive "No-name" products. She cannot tell what is in each can or box, for there are no pictures, only words which she cannot read.

Various groups in Canada who are involved in teaching literacy are reviewed in the slide-tape show. Such groups include Frontier College, government sponsored skill-training programs, Board of Education, Libraries and volunteer groups. The show points out, however, that illiteracy is not recognized in Canada as a Canadian problem. As a result, much of the written material for literacy work is foreign in origin, and often irrelevant to the student's life situations. Some groups are now beginning to address this aspect of the literacy problem in Canada.

B. Literacy: Charitable Enterprice or Political Right?
This monograph challenges practitioners in the adult education field to debate a substantive philosphical aspect on education: education is more than techniques, it involves a human relationship. Teachers and students are both learners and readers of the society in which they are immersed. Content is always present in education. It is not neutral.

The monogram begins by quoting a paragraph of the Declaration of Persepolis: "Literacy Work, like education in general, is a political act. It is not natural for the act of revealing social reality in order to transform it, or concealing it in order to preserve it, is political."

The paper also calls for public responsibility in dealing with literacy in the country. Possessing adequate literacy skills is a human right. Therefore its implementation cannot be left only in the hands of volunteers with good intentions.

C. Content Analysis of Literacy Materials.
This slide/tape show is an analysis of teaching materials used in literacy and English as a second language classes. It deals with certain ideological elements that conform to a particular world view favoring the power groups in Canadian society. The analysis shows how ideas, values, attitudes and the socio-economic reality as a whole, pictured and expressed through these materials, are alien to most of the students who would use them. This prevents them from looking at their own reality and engaging in a dialogical relationship with it. Since American materials in this field are heavily represented in Canada, the slide-tape also deals with the problem of cultural identify and cultural invasion.

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