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Changing conceptions of literacies, language and development: Implications for the provision of adult basic education in South Africa
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Research on Bilingualism.
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study aims to contribute to the growing body of knowledge on the circumstances under which adult education, in particular adult basic education, can support and occasionally initiate participatory development, social action and the realisation of citizenship rights. It traces developments in adult basic education in South Africa, and more specifically literacy and language learning, over the years 1981 to 2001, with reference to specific multilingual contexts in the Northern and Western Cape.

The thesis is based on four individual studies, documenting an arc from grassroots work to national policy development and back. Study I, written in the early 1990s, critically examines approaches to teaching English to adults in South Africa at the time and proposes a participatory curriculum model for the additional language component of a future adult education policy. Study II is an account of attempts to implement this model and explores the implications of going to scale with such an approach.  Studies III and IV draw on a qualitative study of an educator development programme after the transition to democracy. Study III uses Bourdieu's theory of practice and the concept of reflexivity to illuminate some of  the connections between local discursive practices, self-formation, and broader relations of power. Study IV uses Iedema's (1999) concept of resemiotisation to trace the ways in which individuals re-shaped available representational resources to mobilise collective agency in community-based workshops. The summary provides a framework for these studies by locating and critiquing each within shifts in the political economy of South Africa. It reflects on a history of research and practice, raising questions to do with voice, justice, power, agency, and desire. Overall, this thesis argues for a reconceptualisation of ABET that is more strongly aligned with development goals and promotes engagement with new forms of state/society/economy relations.

 

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Centre for Research on Bilingualism, Stockholm University , 2009. , 65 p.
Series
Dissertations in Bilingualism, ISSN 1400-5921 ; 18
Keyword [en]
adult literacy, adult basic education, agency, citizenship, critical applied linguistics, development, linguistic citizenship, multilingualism, reflexivity, resemiotisation, voice.
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
Bilingualism Research
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-26581ISBN: 978-91-7155-852-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-26581DiVA: diva2:212620
Public defence
2009-05-18, G-salen, Arrheniuslaboratorierna, Svante Arrhenius väg 16, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2009-04-27 Created: 2009-04-01 Last updated: 2010-06-15Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. English: language of hope or broken dreams?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>English: language of hope or broken dreams?
1992 (English)In: Adult basic education in South Africa: literacy, English as a second language, and numeracy / [ed] Barbara Hutton, Cape Town: Oxford University Press, 1992, 152-218 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This chapter provides a critical overview of the major debates, theories and teaching approaches in second language education for adults with little or no formal education. The first two sections examine the contested role of English as a language of access in South Africa and the debates surrounding the language of instruction for initial literacy. They draw on Nicaraguan and Mozambican literacy campaigns to illuminate some of the consequences of decisions on language of instruction for large-scale campaigns. The third section critically examines current approaches to teaching English as a second language to adults in South Africa in terms of the understandings of language and language learning that underpin them. The fourth and final section attempts to lay the groundwork for the second or additional language component of a future adult education policy. Framed by a vision of participatory democracy, it proposes a model which integrates theoretical principles from Freirean-inspired popular education, adult education and second language learning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cape Town: Oxford University Press, 1992
Keyword
Adult basic education, Adult literacy, English as a second language (ESL), Language teaching, Curriculum, Language education policy, South Africa
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
Linguistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-26675 (URN)0195707095 (ISBN)9780195707090 (ISBN)
Available from: 2009-04-06 Created: 2009-04-06 Last updated: 2013-07-09Bibliographically approved
2. Participatory education in South Africa: contradic­tions and challenges.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Participatory education in South Africa: contradic­tions and challenges.
1993 (English)In: TESOL quarterly (Print), ISSN 0039-8322, E-ISSN 1545-7249, Vol. 27, no 3, 431-447 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper describes and critiques a participatory ESL curriculum development project within a South African nongovernmental organisation. It locates this project within the political and economic context as South Africa moves from apartheid towards democracy. The contradictions inherent in developing participatory curricula and materials for large-scale use are described, and the choices made to reconcile them discussed. The paper ends with a discussion of the challenges facing adult basic education (ABE) in the future and suggests some directions for development.

Keyword
adult basic education, adult literacy, English as a Second Language, curriculum, materials development, participatory education, South Africa, voice.
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-26672 (URN)
Available from: 2009-04-08 Created: 2009-04-06 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
3. Transforming identities and enacting agency: the discourses of participatory development in training South African adult educators.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Transforming identities and enacting agency: the discourses of participatory development in training South African adult educators.
2008 (English)In: Journal of Education, ISSN 0259-479X, Vol. 45, 95-128 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper explores the ways in which adult education can contribute to increased agency in development and under what conditions. It draws on a study of an educator training programme in the Northern Cape at a time of rapid social change and theorises the uneven realisation of reflexive agency in participants' practices. The analysis of interview data draws on Bourdieu's concepts of field, capital, habitus, legitimate language and reflexivity to probe the connections between local discursive practices and broader systemic relationships of power. The findings suggest that a key contribution of the programme was a set of discourses that enabled participants to engage with the processes engendered by new forms of governance and state/society/economy relations. However, the ability to bring about new identities and increased reflexive agency depended on the interaction of five framing factors. In this way, reflexivity emerges as contextual, embedded within differing sets of power relations, and not necessarily transformative.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Durban, South Africa: University of KwaZulu-Natal, 2008
Keyword
adult education, adult literacy, agency, identity, participatory development, teacher education, popular education, South Africa, reflexivity, language
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-26673 (URN)
Available from: 2009-04-08 Created: 2009-04-06 Last updated: 2009-04-23Bibliographically approved
4. Making and shaping participatory spaces: Resemiotisation and citizenship agency
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Making and shaping participatory spaces: Resemiotisation and citizenship agency
(English)Manuscript (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In South Africa, democratic consolidation involves not only building a new state but also new interfaces between state and society. In order to strengthen the agency of citizens at these interfaces, recent approaches to development stress the notion of ‘participatory citizenship’ which recasts citizenship as practised rather than given. The purpose of this paper is to explore the links between such practices of participatory citizenship and possibilities for literacy and language education in state adult learning centres. It draws on an impact study of a capacity building programme for educators of adults in the Northern Cape Province and uses interviews and document analysis to explore the ways in which meaning-making unfolded in new participatory spaces. It argues that such processes can be seen as  a form of ‘linguistic citizenship’ in which individuals and groups re-shaped the multilingual representational resources available to them to validate the authority of subaltern actors and mobilise collective agency. It uses the concept of resemiotisation (Iedema 1999) to investigate how the choice of different semiotic complexes enabled or constrained participation and to offer a set of principles for reconceptualising the provision of adult basic education.

 

Keyword
Adult basic education, agency, citizenship, development, linguistic citizenship, literacy, multilingualism, resemiotisation, voice.
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Bilingualism Research
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-27042 (URN)
Note
In Lisa Lim, Christopher Stroud & Lionel Wee (eds). (in prep for 2009) The Multilingual Citizen: Towards a Politics of Language for Agency and Change. (Encounters.) Manchester: St Jerome Publishing. Available from: 2009-04-22 Created: 2009-04-22 Last updated: 2010-12-14Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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Output format
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