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692I: Methods and Approaches in Adult Literacy
Tuesdays, 1 - 4 PM in 273 Hills South
PURPOSE OF THE COURSE
This course covers the theoretical and practical aspects of adult literacy instruction: the “how to” of basic skills instruction for adults. Specifically, it will give an introduction to the main approaches to teaching reading, writing and math to adults. The course will provide examples from both U.S. and developing country adult literacy programs.
The goal of this course is to prepare you to decide upon appropriate basic skills methodologies for any adult literacy program with which you may be involved. The course is NOT a teacher training course and is not meant to provide you with in-depth knowledge or experience in literacy teaching. Rather, the class is designed as an overview of the range of approaches and methods for teaching adults basic skills in reading, writing and math, so that you have the information you need to design an overall instructional methodology for an adult literacy program.
The course will cover:
- Theory of adult reading acquisition and common approaches deriving from each theory, such as whole language, sight word, phonics, and eclectic approaches, as well as the four components of reading (alphabetics, vocabulary, spelling, and comprehension)
- Philosophical issues underpinning curriculum for teaching reading skills, such as skills-based, standards-based and authentic/contextualized curriculum development and instruction;
- Assessment and reading profiles as a basis for instruction;
- Reading instruction and learning disabilities in adults
- Theory of writing instruction, including process writing and learner-generated materials
- Definitions of numeracy and components of numerate competence
- Methodological issues in literacy instruction for adults, including:
- Instructional grouping
- Project-based learning
- Theory of adult multiple intelligences as applied to teaching adults
By the end of the course, participants will be able to:
- articulate theories of reading acquisition and the variety of approaches used to teach and assess skills of adults at different reading levels
- describe curricular approaches to reading instruction, such as skills-based, contextualized, standards-based
- outline specific instructional methodologies to basic instruction, such as individualized vs. group, teaching based on adult multiple intelligence theory, and project-based learning
- explain theory and approaches to writing and numeracy instruction for adults
TOPICS AND METHODOLOGY
The class is divided into 4 phases.
- Theories and approaches to reading
- Theories and approaches to writing, including learner-generated materials.
- Theories and approaches to numeracy
- Instructional methodology for basic skills, including curriculum development in a skills, standards, or contextualized approach; project-based learning; application of adult multiple intelligence theory.
More time will be spent investigating methods and approaches to reading instruction, since theory, research and practice in this area are more developed. In each phase, we will start with the theory behind each approach, and then participate in practical demonstrations and discussions of specific strategies or methods for instruction within the various approaches.
Rather than one final paper, students will be asked to write four 5-7 page papers at the end of each phase, applying what they have learned to teaching basic skills within a context of their choice (international, U.S., specific learner population, specific program type, etc.)
The specific requirements for successful completion of the course are:
- Read all assigned readings, engage in all practical demonstrations that take place in the class, and participate in class discussions.
- Write four 5-7 page papers over the span of the course, one for each of the phases (reading instruction, writing instruction, numeracy instruction, instructional methodology).
- At the final class session, give a short 5-10 minute presentation summarizing how you envision all four aspects (reading, writing, numeracy, instructional methodology) coming together in a literacy curriculum in the context that you chose to write about in your papers.
This seminar is graded on a pass-fail basis. If you wish a letter grade (and are eligible for one), you must inform the instructor in writing by Tuesday, September 26; no changes in grading status will be made after this date. Assessment is based on
- thorough completion of all interim assignments, including planning and facilitating a training activity for the rest of the class;
- participation in class discussions indicating an awareness of the issues and concepts presented in the readings;
- completion of the final paper (training manual).
TEXTS AND READINGS
We will use 2-3 Center for International Education publications (available from the Center for between $7 and $15 each). There will also be a course packet of photocopied readings and handouts, available from the instructor after the second week of class. I may also give each student a CD with various articles (in PDF format) that may be part of the reading assignments.
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