Adult literacy and liberal-progressive pedagogy: Australian contexts
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- Research in Post-Compulsory Education, 2018, 23 (2), pp. 181 - 201
- Issue Date:
© 2018 Association for Research in Post-Compulsory Education (ARPCE). This article explores adult literacy pedagogy in the Australian vocational education and training (VET) sector which has long provided most adult literacy programmes. We draw on semi-structured interviews with a small group of eight teachers undertaken in 2005 as part of a project on the social capital outcomes of adult literacy programmes. Through highlighting various elements of student-centred pedagogy, the aim is to demonstrate what is commonly referred to as liberal-progressive pedagogy. We discuss how some educators in this pedagogical tradition have incorporated critical literacy, while others have critiqued it as largely accommodating the status quo. Since the mid-1990s however, the field of adult literacy in VET has been increasingly colonised by neo-liberal ideology which sees literacy equated with human capital. Consequently, adult literacy pedagogy in VET in recent times fits within an industry-dominated, competency-based and nationally accredited VET system in which, we argue, the curriculum provides few spaces for liberal-progressive pedagogy. As teachers express their concerns at the possible demise of liberal-progressive pedagogy in adult literacy in VET, it is timely to reflect on its key elements and its value for social justice.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: